Let's Create MUSIC
SHAKE, SHAKE, SHAKE!! This week in music class, we investigated big ideas related to nature and seeds. We started by bringing out a big gourd, and shook it, inviting the students to think about what might be inside of it. There were lots of great ideas, such as “CANDY!” “ROCKS!” “BEADS!” and… “SEEDS!” We talked about how a seed can be planted in the ground, and then it grows bigger… and bigger… and BIGGER! Sometimes it grows into a small plant, sometimes into a humongous tree!! We then sang an original Atelier song about the cycle of plant growth, from the seed, to the tree, to a flower, to a fruit, that makes another seed. This cycle is kind of like a shape that we talked about last week. A circle! After singing it one time through on the xylophone, we did the song again, this time doing dance motions representing the seed growing into a tree, making the flower, fruit, and more seeds. And then we took a bite! YUM!
To continue our investigation, the children made their own shakers with reclaimed plastic bottles to understand how shakers work! We brought out a sensory bin filled with colorful pasta for younger children, and a variety of beans, peas, and rice for the older kids. First, I shook an empty bottle and asked the students, “Can you hear anything?” which was met with a resounding “No!” Then the children were asked, “How could we make the bottle make sound?” Some kids hit the bottles on the ground, and others filled the bottles with seeds. All great ideas, and different and interesting sounds! Using measuring spoons, scoops, or just their fingers, fine and gross motor development was strengthened as they filled their bottles with seeds. As the seeds filled the bottles, plunk, plunk, kerplunk, we could hear more and more sounds from the bottles. With younger children, emptying and refilling the bottle was the most fascinating part. After sealing up the bottles with fabric tape, our instruments were ready to play!
We shook, rattled, and rolled our new shakers to the beat of some very interesting music! The fast sounds of Mozart’s “Piano Sonata #15 in C,” Thelonious Monk’s “Criss Cross,” The Sea and Cake’s “Afternoon Speaker,” or Stereolab’s “Fuses” fueled our feet and hands as we danced and shook our shakers! After that, we rested our feet for a bit while reading a book, “Tap the Magic Tree” by Christie Matheson, and playing the sounds described in the book with our shakers and the big gathering drum! This book is a great way to reinforce the idea of the cycle of plant growth in nature – from tree growth, to flowers, to fruit, to seeds, a pattern that reoccurs every season. And, the shaky and bumpy sounds described in the book were great fun to play, forming a truly interactive experience!
Finally, back at the circle rug, we invited the children and adults to play freely on our xylophones, or to dance and shake their new shakers, as we played some original Atelier songs in pentatonic scale. The pentatonic scale contains no half-steps, so no dissonant sounds are created by random note playing. Therefore, children and even non-musically inclined adults can have fun playing patterns of random notes to the structured songs presented, “Dance” and “Eight.” We can’t wait until next week, when we will expand on our idea of shaky sounds, and make some shaky art! Stay tuned!
Let's Create ART
This week we brought nature into the studio! Children were invited to paint a large branch in a collaborative effort with all the classes throughout the week. Children enjoyed mixing the colors and bringing an “artful” life to the branch. Every one squealed with excitement at the novel opportunity to paint a 3-dimensional object. As they worked they were reminded of investigations from previous weeks and encouraged to create patterns of different lines or experiment with ways to apply the paint. We are excited to hang this lovely, colorful creation within the studio for all to share!
Little Artists also called upon their new knowledge of the primary colors and color mixing. When selecting a color, children were asked to detail what two colors create the color and finally mixing it on their own. I am continually impressed by their ability to recall the primary colors and their secondary color creations!
Clay provided another enriching opportunity to create art from a material made from nature. Children were first invited to investigate the clay in the bag. Poking, squishing, and attempting to pick it up gave children a basis to make some hypotheses. “It’s squishy!”…”It’s play dough!” “It’s not play dough…it doesn’t have colors!” ….”It’s hard and soft!” “It’s really heavy!” Were just a few of the things that could be overheard in each class as children tried to figure out what was in the clear bag. Upon opening it, children were given opportunities to investigate the medium with their hands. Rolling, squishing it between their fingers, or tearing it into pieces gave them a basis to form their knowledge of the new material. After investigating with their hands, children were given wooden clay tools, craft sticks, sea shells, and twigs to poke, cut, and build with the clay. Little Artists engaged in a conversation about where the clay comes from (the earth!) and how it is similar and different to play dough. We saw many lovely creations form from the clay including rocket ships, bowls with food in them, nest with eggs, trees, and even some abstract sculptures!
The light table provided beautiful opportunities to investigate a variety of leaves, grasses, roots, and flowers (stems and petals) with light play. Magnifying glasses gave children a chance to look closer at the details of the materials and led to discussions about the “lines” of the leaves and their job of bringing the nutrients to the plants, or even the “holes” in the leaves and the bugs that created them! J enjoyed dissecting the flower to discover the many parts that make it up! A wonderful way to connect science and art!
Some artists had opportunities to explore leaf rubbings with our Crayon Rocks which introduced them to a simple form of printmaking. Beautiful collages were created of lovely texture and color.
Other artists were able to explore the ideas of transient art, or something that is temporary, as they arranged a variety of natural materials collected from outside. Flower petals, pods, acorns, leaves, and rocks became smiling faces, a house, and beautiful abstract works as the children enjoyed manipulating the interesting materials.
Finally our flower garden sensory bin was filled with beans “dirt”, bugs, fresh flowers, and flowerpots. Children enjoyed “digging” in the beans, finding the bugs, scooping, dumping, and pouring with the flowerpots, as well as planting the flowers within the pots. It was great to see imaginations come to life as the bugs fed upon the flowers or whole families of bugs worked together to build and play. I love how the sensory bin allows friendships to blossom as the children work together with the materials.
Enjoy the slideshow below for a closer look into our week!