Playdough VS. Clay

In order to support Room 3’s playdough project, students were invited to the studio to work with clay in order to compare and contrast the two substances…


It is so easy to look at projects or investigations such as these and assume there is no substance (pun intended) behind them. We must look deeper. The measuring and mixing of ingredients bring forth valuable math and science concepts, our comparisons brought forth amazing conversations, and the manipulation of these substances strengthen children’s motor skills. Again, we must dig deeper… as these are just a handful of examples of the learning that takes place in early learning settings. This is especially prevalent with the Reggio philosophy and SMCC in general. Child interest is at the forefront, and our brilliant educators are amazing at bringing forth quality learning opportunities that are sure to support our children in any way possible.


Mark: What kind of playdough is this?

I wonder… what do you think?

Mark: It’s grey.


Steven: Playin’ playdough.


Yaretzi: It’s hard… the playdough.

What if I told you that it’s not playdough… it’s clay!

Mark: Ohhhhhh, clay can make anything. It gets hard and you can make a cup!


Mark: It’s cold… so, it’s not playdough. I made eye gobbles for details. It looks at things that you see on things.

Yaretzi: I made Olaf.


Larissa: It’s clay.

Aletzi: It’s hard.

Sarahei: I make it… it stuck.

Like playdough…?

Sarahei: Mmhmm.

Larissa: If you can’t squish it, it’s not playdough… Playdough not hard. In my class, it’s soft!

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Cars, cars, cars!

Room 6 of the Gilliate building has begun a project based on cars. In support of this they were invited to the studio, asked about what they already know, given minor instructions, and left free to carry out their own ideas for molding the clay into their visions of a car! These types of provocations are intended to aid in learning initial concepts as well as creating a foundation on which the children will continue to grow and develop new ideas… Specifically, concepts that are at the forefront in a given classroom!



Robert: They drive.

Jaire: They have… at my house… the car and the truck.

Robert: They put the keys in that way.

Rosie: My mommy has a car at my house… a blue one!


Rosie: Yes!!!


Rosie: It no work. It’s broke!


Rosie: Yes!!!



Jamarion: They drive.


Isabelle: Pink cars!

Kevin: I like red cars!

David: Yeah, they drive them!


Kevin: The car is too big!


David: Cars have engines. Cars have wheels.

Jamarion: Yeah, and they have buckets on the top of a car like a taxi.


Isabella: I just saw two police cars running.

Kevin: Yeah, I saw a lot of cars.




Robert: I made the body.


Bri: I make yours (Mr. Bryan’s car)!


Jaire: Bryan! It’s the wheels!!!


Rosie: I made the blue one. *she is really into this blue car… who’s is it?... can you guys go see it?*


Robert: Mr. Bryan, I made the engine.



Jamarion: It’s the roof.


David: I make a police one. *makes siren sound*


Isabella: A car! A police car!!!

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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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