Stems: Combining building, drawing and writing

Stems: Combining building, drawing and writing

March 1st, 2019

Hello Stem families,

Welcome into our classroom this week…

Last week we mentioned the city plan that several members of our class worked on with Ms. Mazi, it created such rich conversations and detailed drawings that we wanted to offer the materials again to see where it might lead this week.  Last week, at the end of the week, we had offered large paper to work on a few times, but there was no interest.  But this week, we started covering the square table with paper to see where it would lead us.  Initially, the focus was more on building on the table.

Then on Tuesday, we started seeing building, drawing, and writing come together when Diego and a few classmates started making a city.  First, Diego was working alone, building with the chalk blocks on the table and using patterned paper to add doors and windows.  Emma joined him and helping to figure out how to attach the paper to the blocks.

He then went to the block area to find the “hospital” sign that Ryan had for last week’s animal hospital.  As he started drawing roads on the paper, Zachary joined the group.  They talked about construction and how long it takes to drive to Diego’s sister’s school. Each member of the group added their own ideas: Emma adding trees and grass and Zachary added gas stations, more roads and a picture of himself.  Diego and Zachary also asked for words so they could write signs showing the construction areas, the school and gas stations.

Then during small group time, Diego, Zachary, and Emma shared their work, they called it their “Dot to Dot city”.  The following day we discussed the project with the whole class and set out another spot in the classroom with a large piece of paper.

Some friends chose to add more details to the city project.  Emma got the idea that black paper could be used to make the roads.

Asha and Leila started another collaborative building and drawing project centering around a castle for two special toys Leila brought from home.

They also combined building, drawing and wrote signs which they taped to the project.

A third project sprung up at the end of the week and a few of the boys in the classroom were excited by the idea of using train tracks to connect all of the projects together.

Over the week, there has been discussion about these collaborative projects and many of the Stems have spent part of exploration to add their own ideas to one of them. Observing the Stems work on this project, we noticed that many friends wanted to make signs and there was discussion about what words you see on signs on the street, so on Thursday we went for a neighborhood walk and noticed the street signs around Dot to Dot. They were also curious about what types of cars or trucks we would see near Dot to Dot.  Several friends spent time drawing trucks and busses as part of their city project, so on our walk we also looked for types of cars near Dot to Dot, noticing the make and model.

Since there has been such excitement over combining building, drawing and writing this week, we have decided to put the idea for a friendship book on the back burner for the moment, but it is something we plan to come back to.

A few other highlights from this week…

You may have noticed that we combined our sensory bin and the light table, using the clear sensory bin with sand over the light table.  As the Stems draw in the sand with brushes or fill and pour sand, they are seeing it in new ways and making new discoveries.

As pretend cooking continues to be a hit with the Stems, we continue to add more environmental print to the pretend area (newspaper with food advertisements and food containers) and more writing supplies for order taking. Some of the stems have also come up with their own unique ways to use the utensils – over several days a few Stems pretended loose parts were flies that they had to trap, then they filled jars with “flies”.  Then they turned the area into a restaurant that cooks with flies.  You never know what will be cooked up in the Stems classroom.  Outside we used some of the cooking utensils to explore a mixture of flour, oil and glitter.  The Stems noticed how you can mold the dough and enjoyed exploring the texture.  Some used this material for pretend cooking, others experimented with using the utensils to transfer the dough from one container to another, while others were more focused on molding it.

We hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Ms. Inga & Ms. Soni