Introduction to Printmaking!

Today, children of the Thompson building visited the studio and were welcomed to a new printmaking provocation. Each child was presented a cardboard square with additional cardboard that they could cut into designs of their choosing. These shapes and designs were then secured to their squares using ‘paper-gum’ tape, a material that becomes sticky only when wet. Once we had created our “print-blocks”, we rolled printing ink on top and pressed down on paper in order to reveal our prints!!! You can really see how valuable it is to invite the children to explore these longer processes. The learning they display along the way is always SO inspiring!!!

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Writer's Workshop... in the Studio!

Bailey: I’m ‘gonna use this (ruler).

Oh nice, what for?!

Bailey: It make a shape! I made the ‘B’ on it.

Roderick: I’m writing it for here for mommy. I need help… I can’t.

Well, what would you like your letter to say?

Roderick: I… I love my mommy.

Here’s how I would write that!


Arianna: You know I don’t know how to write, don’t you?

Emily: I can do that. I can make an ‘A’ like this. *writes in the air, Ari copies motion on her paper*

Arianna, I knew you could write!

Arianna: Yeah, it says I miss my mommy. I miss my my sissy and I love her so much.

Emily: Here’s my letter… I need it to write my mom’s name on it.

Skyla: I forgot to write my dad’s name and my mommy… and I have one sister and it says “happy birthday” for my dad.

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Choosing and Creating!

Today, our friend Ryan from room 2 at the Thompson building asked if he could choose our studio investigations for the day. So, we took a trip to the studio where he chose various materials to explore. Once he had decided on colored sand, water colors, water, droppers, paint brushes, and popsicle sticks… we went to invite more of his classmates to join in!!!


Ryan: I wanna do the sand. Let’s put it with that!

What’s that?

Ryan: *points to the water colors* So now we need water.


Christiann: ‘Cuz it turn into a rainbow.

How come?

Christiann: ‘Cuz it rainbow sand.


Samari: Mine’s turning green ‘cuz I put it in there and mixed it up.

Zion: Mine’s pink. It pink and red.


Zada: It turning to pink. That one turning to purple when you mixed them together.


Christiann: The water turning blue.


Zion: When you pour it out it gonna be blue. Like, home when you pour it out. I want it be pink.

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Figure Drawing!

This week, children from different buildings and classes had the opportunity to work with a small figurine intended to be used in figure drawing. It has all of the joints that a human body has and can move accordingly, making it a great tool for body and self-awareness! The children took turns doing different poses, re-creating them, and then sketching them!!!

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Re-Visiting Mediums (Water Colors & Colored Pencils): Observational Drawings

Today, children from the Gilliate building continued to explore… or re-visit different mediums. In observing the floral arrangement that we continue to use in our investigations, the children worked with water colors and artist-quality colored pencils. They definitely enjoy finding new ways or re-discovering how to add such wonderful color and detail to their works!!!


Is there only one kind of flower?

Brianna: Lots!... I’m making some flowers. I’m using green and red.

How did you make it look so real?

Brianna: Because I used the right colors!

Armonee: You made it go up (the plant). The green… it goes up! That plant is big!

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Studio Investigations!

Today, students from room 2 at the Thompson building were invited to visit their studio. They were very engaged in their explorations of light, natural materials, and much more! While it is useful to have a primary focus or provocation in mind for the children, it is what they choose to do with their time that allows us to truly determine in which direction their interests are heading!!!

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Re-Visiting Mediums (Chalk Pastels): Observational Drawings

Today, children from the Gilliatte building were invited to the studio to try, or re-visit, another medium. Today’s work focused on still-life drawing using chalk pastels. The kiddos showed a lot of interest and excitement when they were shown how well the pastels “moved” and blended. It was really cool to watch the children transfer from practicing with the pastels to focusing on the colors they needed to accurately re-create the flower arrangement that they were observing!

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Exploring Spaces in Natural Light - A Studio Experience

Today, children from the Thompson building visited the studio in order to explore a variety of provocations. They worked with natural materials, paint, and droppers to create designs and patterns in the style of artist Andy Goldsworthy. They also observed branches while doing contour drawings to match, raced toy cars, worked with yarn, and explored a provocation of reflective and transparent manipulatives. During their entire stay, the children had the inside lights off, working only in natural light entering from the large, studio windows. One room used this to their advantage in their extensive study of light and reflection!

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Re-Visiting Mediums (Marking Pens): Observational Drawings

Today, children from different classrooms at the Gilliate building were invited to the studio in order to learn to work with, or-re-visit observational drawings and marking pens. The children paid very close attention while finding the smaller details in the flower arrangement with which they were working…

Of course, children who had finished up were able to visit other areas of the studio. We had a very calm and fun first day back!!!


Sadik: I make the flowers. Like this… up! *runs finger along a long, flowering plant*


Kaden: I put footprints until the flower grows.


Sadik: I make this and this and this. *drawing individual petals*


Kaden: I make the beans grow!


Alayah: I drew the letter A.

Oh, you did… how come?!

Alayah: For my name.


David: I don’t know how to make it.


Ian: I made the plant… here.


Jamarion: I made these lines. I made this thing bigger than David’s… ‘cause I’m trying to make a plant grow.


Ian: I did it! Hey… I do it!

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Thinking Colorfully!

Today, groups from rooms 5 and 6 at the Gilliate building were invited to the studio. Here, they were introduced to a new provocation of colored Jenga blocks with corresponding colored pencils. These were presented on a black board in order to generate contrast and hopefully, some conversation as well. The intentionality of such an activity is of course partially rooted to development in the arts. However, it is important to recognize the potentially extensive cognitive development that can go hand in hand. Through observing their interactions with the materials and one another, we gain valuable information about each child. We can then use what we see to pinpoint areas of interest, strength, and need. When all of this happens in a separate space such as the atelier, students and teachers can make valuable connections to their classrooms, often inspiring extended thinking, new provocations, or even project work!


Brandon: Now it red.

Jaire: *successfully identifies the colors of all the blocks*


Genesis: I did it… a shape! It’s a triangle (she had created a rectangle).


Alaya: Look what I made. A building!


Genesis: I’m going to make a shape like this with colors.


Samuel: *picks up a blue block* Red! *I correct him and he in turn corrects himself… happens with multiple colors*


Kaden: I’m gonna draw my mom. I made her in my building. Mr. Bryan, I’m gonna make my chair.


Samuel: Can I have a pencil?

Kaden: No, I had it first.


Kaden: *holding a green colored pencil* Green! Mr. Bryan, I’m the Green Ranger!

Brandon: I’m the Red Ranger so can I have the red one? *Sammy hands it over* Thanks!


Rosie: *holding yellow colored pencils* Ummm, yellow! It’s my mom!


Samaria: I’m using pink because I love pink. I’ma use the green too! Do you have all the colors because it doesn’t look like it?


Kayley: I’m making a piano. I have blue, green, yellow, pink, purple (points and gives color names accurately).


Sadik: I’m using red for make my shirt has Spiderman like that. I don’t want to make Spiderman… I want to make my family.


Heather: I made a red (shows me a blue block).


Samaria: It’s a window. A window on top of another window.

Sadik: I want to help you!


Kayley: I made a bunk bed. I made a BIG bunk bed!


Rosie: I made Casa. Heather help me.

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