Stems: work in progress

Stems: work in progress

March 14, 2019

Hello Stem families,

Before we get started, we wanted to remind everyone to please arrive in time for our morning gathering at 8:45.  Our morning gathering is a time to build community, plan for the day, and enjoy special stories and conversations. We noticed that the time change threw all of our schedules off a bit, but hopefully we have all fully adjusted.  We don’t want anyone to miss out on this important part of our day.  Thanks!

Now, into the classroom…


As you will have noticed and as you saw on the blog last week, the building area of our room has been taken over by an expanding city.

In the Stems, we frequently we use small trays as a place for “work in progress,” so a child can continue a project on another day.  But we were curious what would happen if an entire section of our classroom was basically a work in progress – a collaborative project that members of the class could interact with and add to over time.  This week we have been watching how this space is being used: who is drawn to working in this area, how they are using the space, adding to it and playing with the materials left by other members of the class…

As you will remember from a previous post, this interest initially started with roads, vehicles and signs but now little by little we are starting to see members of our class build and play in new ways in this area.  Occasionally you will see cars driving, construction workers building, hospitals and airports are built and then turned into something new…


We are also finding this to be a space for working on collaboration and problem solving. In the photos on last week’s blog you saw a few members problem solve together to lift a section of the city allowing a train to go underneath the city.  This week several of the Stems helped work on a sturdier solution – moving from small tiles, blocks and tape to actual cinderblocks. This has given us a stronger base to build and play on top of as well as space for vehicles to move underneath.

As the class has been exploring how to play with “the city” they are noticing that some parts of it are a bit fragile – since many parts are made out of paper they frequently need repairs.  For now, the Stems have decided that paper cars work better than toy cars in this space especially since some of the Stems really enjoy using the toy cars for big speed and action.  In the future, the class may decide to make a change to this rule, but for now a few of the Stems wanted to make signs for our city area reminding their classmates to play with paper cars in the city.

Since there is definitely a desire for active play with vehicles, last week we started taking them outside to give us more space.  Many of the Stems have enjoyed using the cars in active play, racing around the playground and many have also combined the cars with our sensory materials – enjoying driving the vehicles in “snow” and goop, getting the vehicles into sticky situations and then washing them off.


Continuing with the interests in vehicles, signs and traffic from last week, we decided to take a walk down the hill to look at an intersection.  Before the walk we had a class discussion about staying safe near the street.

We watched the traffic lights and cars at the intersection for several minutes before heading back up the hill again.

On our walk members of our class were excited to see different types of cars, notice the street signs, the crosswalk as well as many aspects of nature: the mountains, snails and flowers.  It was interesting to see how all of the things that they pointed out to us are in line with what each of them has been adding to the various city projects.

The art area in our classroom was full of painters this week.

Tempera paints is one of the many art materials that is always available in our classroom, but this week it was interesting to see how many people were drawn to expressing themselves with the language of paint.

When the pink paint ran out early in the week, one member of the class mixed red and white together.  Soon we noticed that many members of our class were seeing what shades they could create by adding white to all of the other colors, creating various shades of colors, talking about the results and sharing paints with classmates.

Many members of our class returned to this area day after day sometimes just using paint on paper and other times combining paint with materials in the tinker tray, creating a mixed media collage.

Finally, you may have seen the display board this week showing designs that the Stems are creating to use on the printing press with Ms. Amy.

Some of the Stems traced a photograph of their clay self-portrait while others made drawings.

We saw lots of concentration and attention to detail as they worked on getting their image just right.

Ms. Amy will start working with small groups on Friday so they can transfer their designs onto a plate to use on the press.  Next week they will continue with this project so that everyone has the opportunity to work with Ms. Amy on the printing press.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Ms. Inga & Ms. Soni