## What is Winter?!

The children are investigating winter. When asked what winter was, the children replied, “Winter is when it snows”. We began to discuss snow, and if we ever see snow where we live. This led to the children trying to make sense of why we do not have snow in Sugar Land/Missouri City. The following is some of the dialogue from the discussion.

“Winter is when it snows. But it doesn’t snow here, because we have fog.”

“Snow does not come here when fog is out.”

“Fogs are the clouds, and fog doesn’t move.” “Fog is grey”

Because the children have been exploring color mixing, we asked, “How do we make grey?”

The first picture shows some of their experimentation. We tried all of their suggested combinations, until we found GREY!!!! We filled our paint trays with black and white, and they began to make fog………

## Color Mixing

We love the videos that capture the special moments in our classroom. Here is one from the House Room this week! Enjoy……..

http://vimeo.com/111778994

## Snakes + Math

The children began to sit at the play dough table and manipulate the dough.  Although there were materials presented to them, one child began to roll the dough out and said, “I made a snake!”

This became an invitation for the rest of the children to create “snakes” …………….

First we talked about the specific color of the snakes.  All of the snakes we made were yellow, and this began the discussion…..

“What color are our snakes?”

“How many snakes did we make?”

“Which snakes are big?  Which snakes are little?”

The children all engaged in the conversation, explaining their work, or counting out loud to show their pride in the amount they were making.  It became part of the work to count the total as more were added to the bunch.

As soon as the yellow play dough was finished, the teacher held up another bag “Orange!”  “Now let’s make orange snakes!”

The excitement that happened with the yellow snakes, attracted new children to the table.  Some would stare from a distance, move in closer and then participate.  Counting the total, was still a requirement according to the children!

Next color……………….”purple!”

Again, a repetition of what had occurred with the yellow and orange.  If some of the children did not roll the dough out completely to look like a “snake”, the other children explained to that child how to roll it out more and showed them with their own dough.

Communication and giving direction is something we value very much for our children.  We want them to be strong communicators throughout their lives.  Allowing them the opportunity to create, explain, and model for their piers reinforces these skills.

Math was heavily reinforced during this project.  Counting over and over again, as we added more snakes to our bunch helped the children count to higher numbers and associate numbers to amounts.  This helps with estimation, one-to-one correspondence, and number recognition.

Open ended materials are used in most of our provocations at our school.  The possibilities are endless for what academic avenue we will endure.

Our children will continue this exploration in the atelier. A blog will soon be posted to reflect on the experience.

## Color mixing

The children in the House Room have a special love for paint.  Paint is a strong language for these children.  They use paint to tell stories, to describe, and to reinforce academics.  Because we see the value in this experience, we provide provocations to extend this learning.

To further our study of color mixing, we provided a provocation of lids with paint.  The children were free to mix colors in which ever way they wanted.

As they began working, they started making connections to the colors.  The following is some of the conversation that was documented:

“Mine is a red shiny”

“Mine is a dirty shiny”

“Mine is a new shiny”

“I make my mommy”

“I’m making a yellow green one”

“I’m making a creek”

When we analyze what the children were saying, it is clear that they were using the colors to describe.  Opportunities like this have really helped increase their vocabulary, and use of it.

This provocation has helped the children visit many avenues of academics within one experience.  They have the science and math experience of color mixing, which involves color theory and understanding quantities and volume of color.  Language arts was reinforced with story-telling, describing, and communicating their experiences.  Creativity was strengthened as they explored, and this is extremely valuable at our school.  We believe creativity is just as important as any other academic skill.

We want our children to be excited about learning and observe all possibilities.  When they have experiences like these it opens up an opportunity for them to learn about things in a creative way.  They are able to use materials for all subjects rather than just one.  Paint is not just for art – it now became a way to understand concepts in math, science, language arts, etc.

“The Art of Teaching is the Art of Assisting Discovery” – Mark Van Doren