Self Portrait Photography and “I Am” Poems

Our students are so fortunate to have worked one on one with M2 Photography for their self portrait project. M2 flew in from Philadelphia to assist the students in the construction of their self portrait photos. They are a Houston and Philadelphia based company, and more information on them can be viewed on their website:

The children have been working on creating "I Am" poems after studying a self portrait by Judith Lester. As we dove deep into creating the poems we started discovering more of what we want people to know about us. -What emotions we feel colors represent – What emotions best describe our personalities – What things make us happy -What things make us sad, mad, etc – who we love – what our favorite things in life are – what things we like to imagine

We used these "I Am" to: – create backdrops for our photos – decide what props we would need for the photo – choose colors for our backdrops – choose the right outfit for our photo shoot -choose lighting -composition of the photo -what mood we thought the photo should express

Here are some of the behind the scene photos. The children directed the photographers in every part of the photo. The photographers taught the children about lighting and composition.

And here are the final pieces…….

I am strong and happy.
I wonder about dragons.
I hear a snake slithering.
I want a cupcake.
I see Optimus Prime.
I am strong and happy.
I pretend I am a teacher.
I touch a monster snake.
I worry about sick people.
I cry with snake monsters.
I understand how to play transformers and power rangers.
I dream about being in a hole.
I say I miss you.
I try to jump rope.
I hope for presents.
I am strong and happy.

I am happy and mad.
I wonder about snakes.
I hear a dragon flying.
I see a purple pig flying.
I want a pretty, pink flower.
I am happy and mad.

I pretend my dress can't move.
I feel a soft box.
I touch a rainbow and it makes me a princess dress.
I worry about mud.
I cry when I miss people.
I am happy and mad.

I understand how to spell ant.
I say I love my mom.
I dream about a princess.
I try. I hope.
I am happy and mad.

I am shy and happy.
I wonder about animals.
I hear a pig sound.
I see a unicorn and a blue pig.
I want a cat and a puppy.
I am shy and happy.

I pretend to be a mom.
I feel sad.
I touch my puppy.
I worry that my puppy will die.
I cry because I miss someone.
I am shy and happy.

I understand my mom and dad.
I try to get my puppy.
I dream about my puppy.
I say I love my puppy.
I hope the tooth fairy will come.
I am shy and happy.

I am kind and happy.
I wonder about dragonflies.
I hear a unicorn.
I want a spider.
I am kind and happy.

I pretend I am Rapunzel.
I feel pencils.
I touch a paintbrush.
I worry about my mom and dad.
I cry at mad people.
I am kind and happy.

I understand that my mom loves me so much.
I say that Grandmommy loves me.
I dream about unicorns that fly.
I try to take pictures.
I hope for a dog.
I am kind and happy.

I am smart and funny.
I wonder about salamanders.
I hear a bird talking like a human.
I see a tiger growling.
I want a dog.
I am smart and funny.

I pretend I am a polar bear.
I feel fine.
I touch a star.
I worry if I loose something.
I cry when I am lost.
I am smart and funny.

I understand that I don't know.
I say I like all seasons except winter.
I dream about flying.
I try to do my work.
I hope I will be finished soon.
I am smart and funny.

I am happy and strong.
I wonder about paintings.
I hear a lion.
I see a unicorn.
I want shiny hair.
I am happy and strong.

I pretend I am a ballerina.
I feel presents.
I touch a blue bird.
I worry about people that cry.
I cry when I fall down.
I am happy and strong.

I understand that dogs bark.
I say I love you Nohea.
I dream about going fishing.
I try to keep working.
I hope for surprises.
I am happy and strong.

I am six and strong.
I wonder about frogs.
I hear a unicorn.
I see birds.
I want birthday cake.
I am six and strong.

I pretend I am not real.
I feel sick.
I touch my dress.
I worry about dragons.
I cry about monsters.
I am six and strong.

I am happy and funny.
I wonder about elephants.
I hear frogs.
I see pigs.
I want a blue bird.
I am happy and funny.

I pretend a guy in a suit is a bird.
I touch a bird.
I worry about mommy.
I cry when mommy is gone.
I am happy and funny.

I understand that cats meow.
I say my dad is cool.
I dream Amma is coming to my house.
I try to make beautiful pictures.
I am happy and funny.

I am mad and happy.
I wonder about lions.
I hear drums.
I see dragons.
I want ice cream.
I am mad and happy.
I pretend I am Thor.
I feel I don't know.
I touch the paper.
I worry about nothing.
I cry when someone hits me.
I am mad and happy.

"I like blue."


Posted in 2011, Kinder and 1st | Leave a comment


After reading a story about leaves, the students started to notice a tree outside the classroom window. They watched each day as the leaves slowly began to change color. What makes a leaf change colors? Annika piped up, "It photosynthesis!"

We started talking about chlorophyll and how it gives the leaf the green color. Annika did research with Ms. Robin on the computer and they have begun a science experiment to remove the chlorophyll from the leaf so we can see all of the colors in the leaf.

We looked at a few leaves and saw all these lines in each of the leaves. So, the children decided to draw leaves with the veins while in art class.



Some leaves had their spring time color,

while others had all the beauty of fall.
We used our papers to conduct math problems. We read word problems and used our math skills to find out how many leaves we drew, how many veins, and to compare leaves.

But regardless of color, each vein seemed to have all of these lines. What were they called?

The students learned that the big line in the middle of the leaf is called the midrib. The smaller lines are the veins that carry nutrients. What kind of nutrients? "Water," Sophia quickly shared.

The students brought in all types of leaves to look at.

They quickly decided to make clay models of their leaves, carefully placing each "vein."

Big leaves…

Small leaves…

Wide leaves…

They all made leaves different types of leaves.

We were so excited about the leaves, that we ventured over to the park to discover more.


We found plenty of leaves and in all shapes and sizes.



We used this chart to compare our leaves to find out what type of leaf we found. We even labeled the leaves based on their shapes.

We started to noticed that the veins looked different on the various types of leaves.

We soon found out that leaves with a cluster of veins are called dicot leaves.

And leaves with straight veins are called monocot.

We used our information about leaves not only in science class but also in math and writing. If you want to know anything about leaves, just ask us; we are leaf geniuses.

Posted in 2011, Kinder and 1st | Leave a comment

A Quick Snapshot!

We have been focusing on many topics in science lately!  We have become experts with living and non-living organisms.  We are reading and writing about them everyday.

Out of all of our living organisms, the ANT has become our favorite, as many of you know! ;0)  We have an ant farm in our class. 
We watch our Harvester Ants work on their tunnels every day!
We have looked at ants in the microscope to analyze their anatomy and help us draw pictures.  We have learned all of the terms for their body parts and Ms. Robin even tested us on them!!!!!

We use our materials from the outside to help us learn about environments and habitats.  We are learning how to study what we find to make a "hypothesis" about how animals live, and what animals use the environment for.  We all love to make a hypothesis!
We have studied sketches from artist on landscapes to help us learn how to use shading and draw parts of our environment

We are making bird feeders for our "bird wonderland" outside.  We draw, measure and plan out precisely how we want the bird feeders to be.
We have learned about the different types of birds, and Annika is mapping out where each one lives…….
And just to keep ourselves on track, we make sure we have a plan each day.  We write the day, the month and the date……..


Posted in 2011, Kinder and 1st | Leave a comment

Who am I? A Study of the Two Faces of Paul Gauguin

The next step in creating our self portrait portfolio was studying the "two faces of Paul Gauguin".  We looked at two of his self portraits and compared the two.  We were introduced to a Venn diagram, and we worked together to fill out the diagram with our comparisons.
We observed his "symbolic self portrait" and talked about how he used symbols to describe and express himself.
We are using the mirrors to examine our faces and characteristics so that each time we make a self portrait, we are using more details…..

The children are examining the colors, shapes, expressions, and drawings artists use to discuss what he/she might have been trying to "say" through his/her work…….
We created our own "symbolic self portraits" inspired by Paul Gauguin…..
by Kyle
by Jaylin
by Mark
Posted in 2011, Kinder and 1st | Leave a comment

Fall Gardening!

We put our gardening gloves on and prepared our garden for the Fall!  We weeded, pulled out the dead plants, added compost, and turned our soil!  Once that was done we planted plants and seeds……
During our gardening we observed our family of frogs, grubs and earthworms, and we released 1/2 pint of ladybugs!  This was so much fun!
Everywhere we turned we could see ladybugs!  We even got to watch them eat aphids in our butterfly garden!

Once the garden was established, the frogs and worms were back at home, and the ladybugs had their fill of aphids…………..
It was time to get to work!!!!!
Aside from our daily journal in class, we have started a garden journal.  We go outside and observe the garden everyday to see what new things we find!  In just a few days after we planted, we noticed that some of the seeds are sprouting!

We are keeping track in our journal what we find and on what days………..

We are also expanding our garden and we have stared planting in class as well!

Posted in 2011, Kinder and 1st | Leave a comment