Archive for the ‘hundred languages’ Category

Butterfly Bridge

Posted 26 Mar 2012 — by Jennifer
Category hundred languages


Right in front of Takoma Education Campus a butterfly bridge was installed as part of the 5×5 Project. We took a group of children out to see it today, and afterwards, they drew. Some children invented other bridges for birds and insects, some made a butterfly bridge with a stop light “to tell the cars to stop so the butterflies can cross,” and one child, Tamika (pseudonym) drew this:
Tamika said, “This is a flower garden and this one is left by itself (red flower hanging upside down), and these are all of his friends. He wants to play with them because they are partners.” She counted all the pairs, and then went back to her drawing and added a friend for the red flower…

I like how this shows both social/emotional intelligence (making a friend for a flower who didn’t have a partner) and some great math–odd and even, division with a remainder, sets…






Posted 16 Mar 2012 — by Jennifer
Category hundred languages, technology

I’ve been thinking a lot about technology in schools for our upcoming DCREA Study Group meeting. The other day I watched my colleague print out 15 or so pictures, cut them out on a paper cutter, and then file them into a child’s portfolio. I wondered aloud why we are still doing a paper portfolio when a DVD of images (the original work presented separately) would last longer, be more cost effective, and save time. I had mentioned a DVD before in the past and so far, the idea has not caught on.

This is but one example; I often see a resistance to the language of technology. As adults, we must show that we are open to all languages, whether or not we are well-versed. If we are fearful, or reticent to explore a new language, we consequently send a message of prejudice.

See also:

Meeting Materials

Posted 10 Feb 2012 — by Jennifer
Category hundred languages, materials

At a recent visiting day at St. John’s Episcopal Preschool we received many questions about how and when we introduce materials to children.

I like to think that we don’t introduce materials to children, but that children (and adults) and materials meet each other, and get to know each other, over a life time. And in that life time, relationships deepen, resurface, and are sometimes lost. New relationships are constantly forming because there is always a new material to encounter. And just as we have to get to know materials, materials have to get to know us. Clay, movement, music, will react differently in my hands than in yours; it is not a one-sided relationship.

All Along the Watchtower

Posted 09 Oct 2011 — by Jennifer
Category hundred languages, materials

Last weekend I was the keynote for the Ohio Voices for Learning conference. During the discussion following our work with materials as languages, we talked about moving from one language to another–from drawing to wire, or the verbal language to clay, etc. I think that too often ideas are simply re-represented; the clay model of a trash eating truck looks exactly like the drawing. Instead, moving from one language to another should invite new twists and turns, and should suggest an evolution of the original idea. Every material is unique and has particular qualities, history and references and brings something to a piece. If the material doesn’t speak, this implies that the language of that material isn’t fully understood.

Think about a good cover song; I love Dave Matthew’s version of “All Along the Watchtower,” the Fugees “Killing Me Softly,” Jay-Z’s “Hard Knock Life” (danger: rated R lyrics), Moby’s version of “Helpless.” These artists honor the original song, but they make it their own. The riffs on the original are what make it worth listening to.


The 4-Year-Old Artist –

Posted 12 Jun 2011 — by Jennifer
Category hundred languages

Here is a good response to the question I often get asked, “Is what the children doing art?”

The 4-Year-Old Artist –

An even better point of view is found in Vea Vecchi’s  “Poetic languages as a means to counter violence”

Vecchi, Vea, Claudia Giudici, Gabriella Grasselli, and Leslie Morrow. Children, Art, Artists: the Expressive Languages of Children, the Artistic Language of Alberto Burri. Reggio Emilia, Italy: Reggio Children, 2004. Print.

She articulates some similarities between children and artists in the sense that at the most fundamental level, art is about deep relationships with materials, but also some differences. I love when she speaks about how simplistic comparisons between children and artists belittles both groups.