sub title

Insights from the Intersection of Childhood and Education

Friday, May 31, 2013

Chicago Architecture Study

Chicago Water Tower - model built
by a 4th grader

Living in a city famous for its architecture, our 3rd/4th graders have been immersed in a study of Chicago architecture. In addition to class lessons guided by the Chicago Architecture Foundation curriculum covering everything from skyscrapers to bungalows, each student independently studied a specific Chicago building of his or her choosing.


The 333 N. Wacker building which, as this
student so cleverly noted, always reflects
the sky.

They researched their buildings online, in books and in person; they created PowerPoints using their research and some photos; and built models using all sorts of creative materials.



One student's fantastic model of the
Chicago Tribune Tower using
Chicago Tribune newspaper

The Blue Cross Blue Shield Building -
all lit up to support the Chicago
White Sox. The student cut out
the requisite windows and
placed a lantern inside the model.

The Chicago Board of Trade made
of sugar cubes.

The Robie House built from Legos.

To wrap up the Chicago architecture study, the 3rd/4th graders embarked on a building docent field trip, visiting all "their" buildings in small groups. Each student was a "docent" for his or her building and lead a tour for the others. They were proud to show off their expert knowledge!

Student docents in front of the Civic
Opera House.

A model of the Civic Opera House
made from Rice Krispie treats; the Sears
(i.e. Willis) Tower is in the back-
ground, made out of fired clay.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Self Portraits Over Time

Self Portraits of Tomer

Over the course of the school year, the Kindergarten class has done a self portrait each month using different media. The idea was to showcase the progression each student made throughout the year.

Back in September, the first self portrait was done in black and white, and the children continued to create a black and white self portrait each quarter. In looking at these portraits togther, it is amazing to see how far each student has come. More and more details were added as time went on, and perhaps students are seeing themselves more clearly now. Unfortunately we can't feature all of them, but if you can't stop by the staircase leading up to Kindergarten, here's at least a peek:

Self Portraits of Lucy


Self Portraits of Sam

Self Portraits of Ricki


Friday, May 10, 2013

Running a Post Office

Back by popular demand, our first and second graders are running an all-school post office. Each day, their mail box is full with mail to be sorted and delivered!

A first grader "sells" stamps to older students.
Post office posters announce opening times throughout the school.
Sorting the mail into boxes for each classroom, the sorters, a job that is assigned each day, check to whom letters are addressed.
Then, right before or during lunch, it's time to deliver! Mail can be sent from anyone to anyone in the school, including teachers and staff, and everyone is happy to receive old fashioned, tangible snail mail!


Friday, May 3, 2013

Feeling Portraits

"Happy" by Asher

1. I am happy
2. Because I hugged my sister
3. By moving around I show I am happy
4. When I am not happy I am sad

Emotions play such an important role in our lives, and yet children sometimes have a hard time expressing themselves to others, or reading other people's expressions. Therefore the teachers in our four-year-old classroom, the Blue Room, discussed with the children how people express feelings and how they might be able to read other people's expressions.

The class used feeling portraits to extend their discussion. Children were asked to create self portraits conveying a specific feeling of their choice. They scratched their portrait into a Styrofoam board, rolled black paint over it and then created their prints. We think the resulting "prints" are quite stunning!

The children were also asked to answer a few questions about the feeling they were portraying:
  1. What are you feeling in this picture?
  2. What makes you feel that way?
  3. What do you do when you feel that way?
  4. What do you do not to feel that way?

"Scared" by DeHavilland

1. I am feeling scared.
2. I am scared because I think creepy things are under my bed.
3. When I'm scared I shiver. I put a blanket over my head.
4. I feel happy.
"Angry" by Julia
1. Angry
2. When my sister didn't let me play with her
3. I make angry faces
4. When I am not angry I smile