Famous Painters

In the month of June, the Tugboats are exploring fine arts, and this week was our time to study famous painters.  We explored realist paintings of still life, abstract works from Mondrian and Pollock, and pop art from Andy Warhol.  In the preschool years, creating art is more about the process and the experience than it is about what the child produces.  We sought this week to introduce a variety of new processes for the children to explore and potentially integrate into their own ways of working.

On Tuesday, Nora introduced the Tugboats to the work of Piet Mondrian.  His work is best identified by the bold lines and geometric shapes filled with bright primary colors.  He is famous for inspiring the design featured on the Partridge Family bus.  Mondrian’s style resonated with the Tugboats because the colors and shapes are so familiar to them.  We talked about the lines that are so prominent in his work and asked the children to try to notice lines around them.  On a walk around the block, they quickly noticed that their whole world is made of lines!  Each child created his or her own Mondrian-style painting on a piece of foam core adorned with strips of masking tape.  Once the paint had dried, we peeled off the tape to uncover color-blocked works of art!

On Thursday, we explored another mid-century abstract artist whose style is well-liked by our students: Jackson Pollock.  The children studied examples of his work, noticing how the paint was sort of flung onto the canvas.  We talked about our muscles and control, and we considered how much control it must have taken for Mr. Pollock to keep the paint mostly to his canvas.  The Tugboats thought about how it would feel to fling and scatter paint in such an explosive way, and they had to try it!  We took turns using spoons to fling paint onto a large piece of cloth, taking care to keep the paint off of the ceiling and to direct the paint as much as we could with our hand and arm motions.  The result is a work of art we’re proud to display in our classroom!

Exploring different methods of creation encourages young children to consider new ways of using materials.  While filling our shapes, the children felt soothed by the process of Mondrian.  While splattering paint onto the cloth, the children released energy and some explosive emotions with their arm movements.  These experiences open them up to the power art can have in their lives beyond visual stimulation and enjoyment.  They learn new ways to process and express their feelings, as well as new ways to interpret the feelings and expressions of their peers.

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May?!

The month of May just flew by us here at Harbor City School–where did the time go?!

We’ve filled our spring season with plenty of exciting adventures.  We’ve planted in our garden, explored an All About Me unit, and welcomed a few old friends as visitors in our classroom.  The warm weather has brought with it plenty of outdoor fun, including obstacle courses, parachute games, and our good ol’ playground.  Check out the fun we’ve been having!

Carla visits!

Carla visits!

Circus Hats!

Circus Hats!

Circus Hats!

Circus Hats!

Emily from the library!

Emily from the library!

Planting

Planting

Swings!

Swings!

Digging

Digging

Planting

Planting

Bubbles and Balls!

Bubbles and Balls!

Goofy!

Goofy!

Paper houses

Paper houses

Animal footprints

Animal footprints

Peter visits!

Peter visits!

Spanish with Lilliana

Spanish with Lilliana

Teacher Appreciation Week

Teacher Appreciation Week

Parachute games

Parachute games

muffin3

Insects!

We’ve been bugging out this week at Harbor City School learning all about insects!  We are two weeks into our study of Spring, and insects are a very important sign of spring.  Insects are attracted to plants, and if they are snooping around for food, the plants must be on their way!  The Tugboats have investigated ladybugs, butterflies, worms, ants, caterpillars, and beetles.  We’ve voted on our favorite crawly creatures, we’ve made insects from a wide variety of materials, and we’ve observed some real bugs out in the park.   When the rains kept us off of the playground, we went for an I Spy walk, noticing the signs of spring all around us.  Check out the photos of our adventures below!

We were also thrilled to have our second installment of music, thanks to the support of the Countdown to Kindergarten program.  Zhi taught us all about the Chinese zodiac in our class this week, and our favorite librarian, Emily, stopped by for a story and craft!  We got a surprise “visit” from one of our crawfish.  Buster molted this week, shedding his old shell so he could grow into a new one.  We’ve loved observing his old empty shell and looking up new videos and information about how crawfish molt.

Spring Has Sprung!

Almost!

It’s been a long winter, and it doesn’t seem to want to give up without a fight.  After beautiful temperatures last weekend and Monday, the snow flurries on Tuesdays were a bit of a shock to our systems.  It seemed so unfair to the shooting sprouts of tulips in the park!  Indoors, we’re moving ahead with our spring-themed explorations.  We have a wonderful love of recycled art since our week of recycled projects.  This week’s kiddos used egg cartons to make paper tulips!  We added delicate tissue paper, which felt soft like flower petals, and foam shapes to make the pollen-y center of our flowers.  We also moved our plant studies from the theoretical to the practical.  Erin helped us plant our peas that we sprouted last week into our plot at the Bremen St. Community Garden–our inaugural planting!  We also planted our window bean sprouts from last week into plastic cups that we each are taking home.

In addition, we investigated the letter I this week.  We made a list of I words, including everyone’s favorite: ice cream!  On Monday, we celebrated I week by preparing the ingredients needed to make our own ice cream with Ally’s machine. We carefully chopped strawberries, then cooked sugar, cream, milk before adding our creamy mixture to the refrigerator.  Once it had cooled, Ally poured it into her machine, which churned and churned until it was ready to freeze.  We can’t wait to taste it next Monday!  Thursday’s group had a double treat of Chinese class in the morning with Zhi and music class in the afternoon with Renee.  Zhi taught us to count from 1-10 with words and using our hands…only one hand for all 10 numbers!  We learned a silly song about tigers as well.  Later in the day, we flexed our vocal muscles in our first music class with Miss Renee, who joins us as part of a collaboration with the Countdown to Kindergarten program.  Renee showed us how she makes a variety of sounds with her guitar, Sandy, and we sang along to some of our favorite songs.

Our Earth: Week 4

This week marked our final week of studying Our Earth.  After last week’s exploration into plant parts and how they grow, we spent this week preparing to grow our own plants!  We are thrilled to start our third season in a plot at the Bremen St. Community Garden; it’s been such a wonderful part of our curriculum since our opening.  The children practice starting seeds and nurturing them to sprouts; they tend the garden and make sure it’s free of weeds; when the plants are ready, we harvest our fruits and vegetables; once we’ve harvested, we love integrating our own produce into our snack program!  This week, the Tugboats began sprouting seeds that we can plant in our plot, as well as some that the children can take home if they like.  We placed pinto and lima beans into wet paper towels, then tucked them into clear plastic bags and taped them to the window.  The children made predictions as to which beans would sprout first; we’ll see who’s correct!  We also are sprouting peas in wet paper towels.  These are sprouting on a warm, dry shelf.  Some of the afternoon kiddos helped plant seeds for peppers, eggplant, fennel, and winter greens like spinach, kale, and arugula.    Those seeds will go home with Erin to sprout under her grow lights until they are ready to go in the ground.

We had a visit from our favorite children’s librarian, Miss Emily!  Emily read us several books about gardening and plants, then helped us make our own paper gardens filled with colorful, unique flowers!  Later in the week, we made paper vegetable gardens with designated numbers of tomatoes, carrots, and peas.

This week in our letter studies brought the letter H.  The children identified a series of animals that begin with the letter H:  hummingbirds, hippos, honeybees, hedgehogs and hammerhead sharks!  We also practiced making halves into wholes.  The children were each given a half of a shape on a piece of colored paper.  We danced our booties off, but when the music stopped, we had to carefully find the other halves to our shapes!  Once all of the shapes were complete, we presented them to one another!