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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Spinnin' Paint: Engineering and Art

Today, children were observed in their classroom experimenting with “fidget spinners” in an interesting provocation. A variety of items were introduced so that the children could engineer parts to make the fidget spinner, well… spin. It was awesome to watch the ‘wheels turn’ as they figured out different ways to make the spinner function. This carried over to the studio. We brought along a spinner and used a model of one of the children’s classroom creations to station it on a large sheet of sturdy paper. Alongside the contraption were bottles of water color paint. The children were asked “now how can we make the fidget spinner paint?”  One child, ‘B.J.’ took the lead, immediately demonstrating how to spin the manipulative carefully so as not to knock it off the pen on which it was placed. With little prompt, he then proceeded to pour paint on the spinning object, causing it to splatter across the paper. The rest of the group eagerly joined in, quickly got the hang of it, and were cheerful and engaged as both engineers and artists!!!


Brandon: The paint poured on there and it splattered. It can’t fall though.

Jackie: Look!

Brandon: Yeah, it broke. We gotta hold it down for them so they can spin it.

Kayley: It makes the blue right there.

Jamarion: It flipped over.

Brandon: I gotta see if it still spins.

Kayley: It looks like icing (white paint).

David: See if it works.


Erin: Glue (white paint) come off!

Chrishelle: It went here and there.

Nadia: The thing makes a spinna(er). 

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Studio Storytelling 2.0... Continuing Collaborative Writer's Workshop

Today, groups of children continued on in creating our collaborative book in the studio. We discussed how THEY would be both an author and illustrator while reading the pages that were created by previous groups. We compared these to familiar storybooks, which seemed to spark a greater understanding. After this, most of the children were eager to start their portion of the book! Great conversations were held as the children decided how they wanted their pages to look and read!!!


Burt: Details!

Wow, I’m so happy you remembered that word! Can you tell me about your details?!

Burt: Yeah, it’s so you can see my mommy.

Kamari: My mommy not cryin’ because she their friend (after reading a page that portrayed a sad mother who was isolated from her friends).

Burt: In mine, my brother ‘cause my mama told him not to touch the “pow pow”. So then he touched it and he got a whoopin’.

Kamari: It’s my brother right there with the playdough.

Burt: So, my brother gets tied up right there.

Karter: My mommy happy ‘cause GG found her daughter and her son. She doin’ her colors. The colors make her happy! Happy ‘cause I drawed on her face. Now she sad ‘cause she lost her kids again.


Larrell: My mommy happy. She wearin’ glasses. She’s writing her letters with them!

Vivian: A shaggy-gaggy came in the room. He tried to fight my mom. She ran too fast then the monster didn’t know where she was so he ran away… the end!

Alaya: This is you and you’re swingin’. This is me and I’m swingin’ too.

Christian: My mom is playing with them.

Alaya: I made 1, 2, 5. Make up for me so I can put it on the book.

Iker: This my mom and dad. They playin’. They playin’ check.

Alaya: I made this (letter A). It says don’t play. It says S too.

Christian: My mom play football with your mom.


Mya: I’m making details. Now I’m writing the words.

Sierra: I made C and A.

Makiya: I write the star. She went out and looked like this (sticks tongue out).

Mya: We made the words. She made H (the girls start singing the ABCs unprompted).

Mya: She went in the dark and ate the banana.

Sierra: This my mama writing her ABCs.

Makiya: This my babysitter. She crying ‘cause mommy made her leave.

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Studio Storytelling: Writer's Workshop in the Atelier

Today, the children were welcomed to a new bookmaking and illustration provocation. To begin, we read the book Ish by Peter H. Reynolds. We discussed how the Illustrations matched the words, as well as the message of the story. In Ish, a little boy loves to draw but grows frustrated when his drawings don’t look exactly as he intended. He decides to give up until his sister shows him that they are “vase-ish”, “fish-ish”, etc. She has secretly been collecting his discarded drawings and turning them into a gallery in her bedroom! Seeing this, Peter takes to the concept of “Ish”, and embraces the beauty and individuality in his work. This is one of my favorites, as it encourages such confidence in our children! We then began to discuss what their own story could be about. The consensus was to make a book about their mothers. They worked cooperatively on the first and second pages and even had their moms interacting in their drawings! They let me know what their page was going to say as they wrote familiar letters to be read. They were then introduced (or re-familiarized) with chalk pastels, and were quick to understand how to manipulative them by blending and shading with their fingers. This made for a beautiful medium in adding color to their illustrations. New groups of children will now be given the opportunity to add to our collaborative book!


What will your story be about?

Alaya: My mommy.

Genesis: *nods in approval*


Genesis: This is my mama.

Alaya: Gotta see mommy. I forgot the forehead (holds mirror to her drawing).

Genesis: (now holds the mirror to her drawing) A lock for a ball to fly.

What do you mean?

Genesis: Hi mama and the ball!

Hi Sadik! Would you like to add a drawing of your mommy to the story?

Sadik: It’s my moms. My moms is fighting.


Genesis: What is that? What is this (pointing to different words in a story book)? *draws the letter S* I did it… sssss. Now I want to do this one…

Alaya: *begins to form letters on a sheet of notebook paper and then references them when writing on the story page*


Sadik: Look at my rojo (shows me his pastel covered finger)!


Wesley: My (mom) play ball.

Samaria: S-a-m-a-r-i-a… I have to put my name.


Samaria: She’s (mom) sad ‘cause everybody ran away from her and then she got an idea (draws imagination bubble).

Wesley: My moms got a bike.

Samaria: It was bout can her friends to play with her and then they said ok.

Wesley: She just pushed the pedals..

Samaria: And then my mommy will tell me that she play with her friends.

Wesley: I can’t do it!

You did do it! It’s bike-ish… just like in our story!

Jalaya: *joins in* Bike-ish like in the book. That sound fun.

Samaria: I’ma make my face with these (pastels) ‘cause they my favorite. Now I gotta write words with them ‘cause I’m blending my words.

Jalaya: I’ma draw my mommy right here. She gonna be drivin’. Now she walkin’ with her arms up. I’ma get the brown ‘cause my mommy brown. This her car. This her new hat.

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