Ms. Alycia's Treasure

This year, St. Mary’s lost a beloved teacher and friend in Ms. Alycia Adams. She always carried such a kind demeanor and exemplified what St. Mary’s, The Reggio Philosophy, and building relationships are all about. In addition, she loved using found treasures to initiate a sense of wonder while fostering the curiosity of our children. On one of her final treasure hunts, Ms. Alycia found and left us a “magic box’’ to be repurposed.

The box was displayed for the children to observe. They were then asked what they thought it was and for ideas as to what we could do with it. They decided that they wanted to blindly add paint and various manipulatives. They then took turns shaking the box, turning it upside down, and drumming on it. After they were finished, they opened the box to reveal the magic that they had created!

Jace: I wonder what will happen if you mix purple paint and dark blue paint together…

Aiden: Don’t look inside!

Centaurion: They movin’ inside.

Eduardo: They mixed it. Now it’s all stuck.



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Intro to Audubon

The Indianapolis Museum of Art will be accepting entries for their John James Audubon exhibit. “Audubon was a French-born American ornithologist, naturalist, and painter. He was notable for his extensive studies documenting all types of American birds (and other wildlife) and for his detailed illustrations that depicted them in their natural habitats”.

For this we will be discussing wildlife/natural environments, and exploring them as much as possible in order to gather ideas for our own entries for the IMA! Today, children from room 4 at the Gilliate building were introduced to Audubon and his ideas. They were then able to take this and use it to create initial-draft drawings using both their own ideas and Audubon’s influence.



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Walking Trips

Today, children from rooms 5 and 6 at the Gilliate building went on walking trips to some of the surrounding areas of our school. The children were asked to lead the way, deciding which direction to take us in. Findings were discussed as we tried to make connections between the things we found in our community, project work/investigations, and the familiarities in our lives.


Room 6 Findings and Quotes:

 The Geese…

 Avionna: I think they eating food and bread.

Jordan: And grass!

Zion: They’re eating.


YMCA Swim Park/The Slide…

 Arden: They built it.


Arden: The YMCA people.

Avionna: They built it by theyselves.

Jordan: Yeah, the people.

Zion: Get the pool then the slide then the stairs to go down the slide.


Art Installation: The Door…

 Abigail: Is closed.

Where’s the rest of the house?

Arden: Over there. *points to apartment buildings*


Landmark: Ms. Paula’s Garden

 Abigail: The flowers are right there.


Underground Pipe…

 Zion: There’s the other way out. Look what else I found… the sewer.

Arden: It’s for water.

Jordan: Water comes out of it from the rain.

Zion: Yeah, it comes out of the tiny hole.


Landmark: Soldier Memorial…

Jordan: They build it because they want to for that man.

Arden: They used construction equipment to dig it up.


By the “Tractors” (heavy construction equipment)…

Jordan: A man by the tractors. He got that part that picks up dirt.

Abigail: Putting trees.

Jordan: That part fell off the tractor and they can’t pick up no dirt.

Can they fix it?

Arden: No, ‘cuz there’s no workerman.

Jordan: The blue things for they working on stuff.

Zion: To make swimming pools (making connections!!!^^^)

Abigail: Tools.



 Zion: The garages! For putting cars in.



Room 5 Findings & Quotes:


Tritan Building…

 Jackie: It’s for climb up there and climb down.

Tim: When you die it’s for you supposed to come up. You go in there so you can come back to life.

Alyssa: It’s a restaurant.

Tim: Mr. Bryan, I like this ‘cuz it has the flowers.


Cars in the parking lot…

 Tim: Where the cars goin’?

Alyssa: They’re goin’ to get somethin’.

Tim: These two cars are the same color.



 Jackie: It says no kids can come in the police station.

Alyssa: It’s pointing down.

Tim: ‘Cuz it has these numbers.

Jackie: It says don’t go here or you go to jail.

Alyssa: That sign says stop!

Jackie: It says no more people go past here.

Alyssa: That one says lightning so we don’t get hurt.


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Making Connections: City/Canal Explorations

Over the course of the next few weeks, children from different rooms at the Gilliate and Thompson buildings will be going out to explore their communities, city, and  environments in general. Children will be observed in their interactions as they lead the way in learning about the places, things, and people that they want to study. As these interests begin to emerge, connections between classroom investigations/project work and our field studies will be made. Today, the children of Room 2 at the Thompson building explored the canal, downtown, and the people mover! They were very anxious to interact with everything around them. We discussed the ducks on the canal, got up close looks at buildings and landmarks, then took a ride on the people mover!


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Here are some of the children’s discussions:


The ducks…

Eduardo: I see ducks!

Dre: The green ones are the boys.

Eduardo: You see their legs, it’s ‘cuz they like to paddle in the water and they swim and when they fly they put they feet down and it was awesome!

Kayla: I see a lot of ducks!

Jace: They’re following us ‘cuz they think we have bread.

Eduardo: That girl is the brown one.

Ryan: They come over here and they be nice so we can pet them.


The fish by the waterfall…

Kayla: Guess what?! There’s something in the water. It’s fish!

Eduardo: I see a orange one.

Ryan: There they are! Can we get the fish when we want to?

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Landmark (Mayor’s Service Award Plaza sign)…

Dre: It’s a mission.

Eduardo: It’s for grownups for the reading store.

Kayla: Letters!

Jace: Yeah, this is lots of words so you can read it.

Ryan: It says no kids, no babies, no baby brothers!


Old fashioned brick building…

Eduardo: It’s locked!

Jace: Yeah, so people don’t break in.

Ryan: I like it ‘cuz it look like a whole bunch of buildings.


The People Mover…

Jace: We want to go there! The train!

Eduardo: We got to take the elevator!

Dre: We going to 4!

Eduardo: We’re here! It’s my mom’s work.

Dre: I see a building… lots of buildings there!

Eduardo: I see our school!

Kayla: I see buses and some buildings.

Ryan: I see a whole bunch of airplanes!

Kayla: Look, step-prints!!!

Dre: Yeah, and trees!

Kayla: We want another ride.

Eduardo: So we can see my mom. She doesn’t work on the train. She works a job.

Eduardo: We’re going backwards now?

Kayla: We are not going backward. We going front!

Dre: Yeah! Choo, choo!

Jace: Nope, we ARE going backwards!

Dre: People use the train so they can go to the building. That one. My family works there so they can make people better

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The Color of Music... What song are you painting?

The children of room 5 at the Gilliate building and room 3 at the Thompson building have been discussing music and in particular, drums. In support of these investigations, a provocation was designed with the intention of combining artistic ideals. Pages of sheet music were introduced and discussed with most of the children noticing how the notes sat along a series of lines (staff/stave). With both groups, sheets of water color paper with added staves were arranged intentionally so that the children could paint in a linear way WITH music. The Gilliate children were given actual drumsticks that they dipped in paint and used to create their own version of sheet music. In doing so, peers were asked to sing their favorite songs while their friends tried their hand at drumming along the staves to the rhythm of each song. The Thompson group’s provocation was set up in a similar fashion, but with staves arranged in a non-linear, more abstract way. This time, different tools were provided and instrumental music was played for the children to paint to. This led to more movement (and a lot of dancing!) as they worked around the painting!!!

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Gilliate Room 5 Quotes: Before our activity…

How do you make a song?

McKenzie: I hear Kevin Gates.

Kevin: Yeah, he uses this (makes horn noise).

Ariana: If you use the sticks and go sideways so you can hit the side right here and hit the other side too.



Tim: At my house we don’t got no paint when I play the drums.

Nakai: It makes a music sound!

Alysa: I did the drums like you do.

Tim: I’m painting with the song. They don’t beat at the church with the paint.


What song are you painting?

Tim: That one we do at church!

Kevin: Ya’ll painted music with ya’ll writing!

Aviel: Yeah, she’s music’n!


Thompson Room 3 Quotes:

Can you paint the song?

Jasper: Yeah, mine’s like let it go, let it go… can’t hold it back anymore!

Chloe: It’s music. It goes A,B,C…

La’Mya: I can dance and paint. I painted *ch, ch, ch, ch, ch*.

Chloe: Yeah, it’s like… (beatboxes).


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Aquatic Life

Aquatic Life:

An Expression through Mixed Media


The children of Room 2 have been investigating and discussing the sea, the ocean, and the inhabitants within. Whether discussing a “Nemo fish” or a sea turtle, it has been very interesting to hear the children talk about the different creatures they have prior knowledge of or are currently learning about! In support of these curiosities, a provocation that suggested the designing of scenery found under these bodies of water was introduced.


First, the children painted a background for their underwater scene. Blue and green water color paints were mixed to resemble the color of water the children had observed in pictures of the seas and oceans. Next, the children were given many photos of different aquatic lifeforms that they cut and collaged onto their piece. The children were then given the opportunity to recreate and add their own artistic visions of these creatures using marking pens, neon paints, and oil pastels. To finalize their work, the children helped with spreading Mod Podge to add shine and a sense of reflection, while also holding their collaged work in place.


Jace: We learned about Rainbow Fish. He has shiny scales… and I learned about the octopus, I think he has like 10 legs.

Cash: I learned about a mermaid. She don’t have legs ‘cuz she can’t be on the ground.

Jace: Starfish can go in the water and both on the ground.

Ryan: Nemo has stripes because his tail is the same.

Sariah: It’s a dolphin (points to a shark)!

Ryan: I got the hammerhead shark.

What does it do with its head?

Ryan: (Head-butts the air)

Chastity: When somebody jumps in the water, the shark ‘gonna eat him!

Juanton: Shark is blue.


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Not JUST Painting: Creating with Process and Purpose

The children of Room 2 at the Gilliate building had the chance to try what was for a lot of them, an unconventional method of watercolor painting. Individual sheets of high quality paper were combined on a round table to make one large work space. A large group (almost the entire class) was invited over to use small spray bottles and various brushes to create an extremely vibrant, collaborative work of art.  But, there was more to this exploration then what met the eye. The purpose behind individual sheets of paper combined into one were to demonstrate that there was strength in working as a community, but also in individuality. The painting(s) could be viewed as a whole or as independent pieces. They could be combined or separated as the children saw fit. While we typically promote small group work and recognize its extreme benefits; for this activity the children were purposely asked to work in a large group in very close quarters to one another. Community, teamwork, problem solving, and the discussion that comes with these was the driving intentionality behind the creation of these works… or work… of art. 


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Light and Shadow Exploration

The children of room 3 at the Gilliate building have been studying light and shadows, and the correlation to photography. In continuing their explorations, they photographed themselves, teachers, peers, and items within an isolated area of the studio. In this area were large mirrors, small hanging mirrors, flashlights, and transparent items that were used in manipulating their photography in ways that would promote their curiosity!!! 

Patrick: I see a shadow.


Where did it come from?

Patrick: The light, because it’s dark!



In continuing our light and shadow explorations, children from rooms 3 and 5 went out to find, and materialize their shadows! We took turns tracing each other’s shadows and then filled the outline using spray bottles of paint. We observed how our shadows moved and discussed where they went when they had disappeared. We weren’t sure if we’d ever seen a blue shadow before!!!

Arden: The shadow is gone because the light is gone! The sun is light and your body is darker than the sun.

La’Miya: It movin’ because we walkin’.

Juai: I’m spraying the shadow.


We are making our shadow blue! Have you ever seen a blue shadow before?!

 Juai: No.


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TAG at the IMA

As if having a classroom at the Indianapolis Museum of Art wasn’t enough; we are thrilled to be able to collaborate with the IMA and its teaching artists!!! The TAG program gives students a chance to visit and explore the museum, its grounds, and to implement newfound ideas into their explorations back at school. With our first visits, students from our Thompson and Lab School sites have shown great intrigue in visiting the grounds, collecting natural materials, meeting new animal friends, and connecting their findings to their artistic ambitions!


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New Interests

As the children become more and more acquainted with their schools and classrooms, new interests are becoming ever so apparent. From these interests blossom provocation, investigation, and discovery. From these bloom each child’s individual understanding of how THEY learn best. In fostering this continued growth, we have been exploring new and familiar artistic mediums with which we can support the fascinations of each classroom. Whether it has been while photographing plant life in support of botanical studies, or simply having our first experiences with clay and the firing process… watching the children play the largest role in their own growth and learning is truly an incredible thing to behold!!!

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