To illustrate our process I will outline the week in review:
Kathryn initiated the discussion with a very successful movement game on line. The game involved making lines with our bodies and the students were eager to try it out. Midway through, Kathryn held her arms straight out and asked "What kind of line am I now?". One student called out "An airplane!", another quickly added, "A straight line!". Kathryn than said, "Watch what happens when I bring my line together", and she did so forming a circle with her arms. "When a line comes together it is called a shape. What shape am I?". A chorus sounded, "A circle!". In the studio, we explored this theme further beginning with the straight line of a pipe cleaner and experimenting with the many possible shapes a line can become. For some students this was enough, others were interested in joining the pipe cleaners into shapes, still others were eager to trace their drawn shapes.
We changed our inspiration shelf to incorporate more shapes for tactile explorations and this was a real point of interest, leading to explorations of pattern, form and categorization.
The students were interested by the process and after some discussion with Kathryn and several of our colleagues we decided to prolong the process. In short, our plan is to "slow down". In the classroom, we sometimes call this "horizontal movement". It gives children the necessary time to explore a material and its properties before building on it, aka. "vertical movement". With this in mind we are opening the studio next week for exploration with the media and materials introduced thus far, giving the students a chance to assimilate their discoveries and continue to evolve their explorations. We look forward to observing their interests, questions and insights in the week ahead.