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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Coming Together in the Studio!

Today, children from all rooms at the Thompson building were invited to the studio. They were encouraged to explore and find things that they found interesting as individuals or during parallel, cooperative, or group play in general. Some friends took great interest in a provocation of natural materials, others were more into construction using various manipulatives, and the rest enjoyed floating from area to area while working with all sorts of materials. A couple of children took to building “ramps” and “tracks” that they were using to roll and guide a marble...


Roddy: It’s a track. I make a long track. Look Mr. Bryan. We got to save it for after care for tomorrow… for marbles!

Monte: I’m going to make a train track! My track is bigger!

Roddy: My track wasn’t smaller ‘cause it was TOO big!!!

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Art Like Andy: Drawing Inspiration from the Art of Others

Today the children were shown particular photos in a book of works by natural artist Andy Goldsworthy. In response to this, a provocation was set up to allow the children the chance to create their interpretations of what they saw. What was really interesting is that while they worked diligently as artists, the conversations went in a completely different, off-topic direction. We may have pinpointed a new interest unexpectedly, and through mediums you may not have thought you could have used for this purpose! Learning is infinite and we will continue to take every opportunity to learn about our children while we work alongside them!!!


*Ryan starts us off by making a connection to his artwork.*


Ryan: Look Mr. Bryan, I’m painting this like a cheetah ran through it!

Samari: Cheetahs are really fast. They can run in the dark.

Ryan: I know why. They kill stuff so they can get beef and food.

Skyla: Horses are fast too!

Samari: I painted like a gorilla ran through going fast!


Angel: Blue. I painted blue like blue (points outside toward the sky). See… blue!


Angel: Thank you!

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Mini-Drawing: Developing Spatial Awareness and Attention to Detail

As many children work in the studio or in their classrooms, we frequently notice that children are using entire sheets of paper to draw or write very little. So much more could be added, and we want to express this to the children. Not only are we not wasting paper, we are creating finer, more detailed drawings as the children have to focus in on a smaller space. They had to be more intentional with the markings they made after realizing that they were quickly running out of room!!! At the end of the day, they are gaining valuable skill and knowledge in spatial awareness and adding finer details to their work.


Mark: Little papers.

Celia: Little, tiny papers… chiqui.

Regean: Your pictures gonna be bigger!


Yaretzi: I make Anna.

Celia: I want to make a princess… and Elsa. Her is a princess.

Regean: I’ma make the snowman.

Mark: Spiderman and turtles.


Mark: I’m taking my time.

Regean: I had to draw right here… everyone did (points to the middle of her paper).


Mark: You know turtles have tails. Look at Spiderman just hanging out with a turtle. Spiderman has a lot of body inside of him?


Mark: Yeah.


Celia: Is a ghost… they get things.

Regean: It’s my mommy ‘cause she want on here.

Mark: He has a shell on his back. He’s with my Spidey. This turtle is older than the other one. I’m giving them a cookie and a pizza now!

Yaretzi: Frozen, Else, Anna. 1… 2… 3… 4… 5… 6… 7… (counts her drawn figures) I draw!

Celia: It’s my name.


Ayari: Mickey Mouse… his house.

Sarahi: Es mi sister.

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Collaborating Classrooms!

Today at the Gilliate building, we had a completely open studio. All of the classrooms were invited to visit, and visit a lot of them did! It was amazing to see all of the different children from different classrooms interact with one another. Interests were shared, friends were made, and new mediums were explored… together! As educators, these types of explorations give us more and more insight into our children as individuals as well as how they work in groups. This helps us develop appropriate experiences in order to enhance their learning!

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Music Students

Groups of college music students visited our studio and observed children engaged in a provocation with which they were to create their own music in order to paint. Music was played in the background with the intention to inspire. Children poured paint onto drums and tried to follow the rhythms using drumsticks and their very colorful hands! The addition of the paint seemed to bring forth great interest in different music as they kept asking to change the songs for “new beats”!

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