Exploring our world through art

Hello! It’s been a while since I’ve posted! We’ve been super busy here, getting adjusted to our new surroundings and routines, and more importantly, welcoming 2 new friends into our JK family!

As we continue on our STEAM journey, we have been taking our art exploration to another level. Over the next 5 weeks, we will be conducting science experiments through process art to investigate and learn about nature and the world around us!

This week, we are focusing on water and air, therefore learning about three of the states of matter: solid, liquid, and gas. Here is a simple experiment you can conduct together at home, to extend your child’s learning about the water cycle. If you try it, comment below to let us know how it went, what you learned, and what you still want to know!

So here is what we did on Wednesday: We first sprayed water onto paper and froze it. Next, we painted onto the frozen paper, and watched what happened to the icy paper and warm paint as it thawed. Then, we took our leftover paint and painted ice cube trays, added water and popsicle sticks, and stuck them in the freezer overnight!

Today we painted with the frozen paint cubes. We started in the shade just to test out our cubes. Then we went into the sunshine! Some friends noticed that the ice cubes melted so much faster in the sun, and remarked they went from solid to liquid! We talked about how if the liquid heats up even more, it turns to gas, which is why puddles always disappear. From there, we painted on the grass, made grass prints, and some friends even made hand prints. Check out our process and our masterpieces!

   

Tomorrow, we are hoping for another warm and sunny day so we can get outside and paint with water to see if it will evaporate, how long it takes, and compare evaporation in the sun and in the shade.

the “end” of the ‘line’

Your children are proudly bringing home their stories, zip line kits, and final ‘line’ study today. We discussed how lines can be short or long, straight or curved, have arcs or corners, and even all of those things in one line! The one thing to remember is that a line has a beginning and an end. Yesterday we painted using pipe cleaners to give an interesting parallel-lined texture to our picture frames. Today, we traced a beautiful continuous line drawing (yes, just one line!) to make a Shabbat themed window hanging. Next week, we will see what happens when the beginning and the end are connected… stay tuned!

Arts Integration in our JK Classroom

I love art. One of my favourites is abstract because the beauty can come from so many aspects. Lines, shapes, colour palette, textures, patterns, contrast, and especially because each time I look at an abstract piece, I discover something new. A lot of the art we do in our early childhood is exploratory. We are investigating, experimenting, and testing what materials can and cannot do, how they interact, how we can compose them on a surface or in a space (yes, art includes building!). This is called process art. Check out this article for a deeper insight into process art, as I cannot have written it better myself.

Art is not just visual. There is music, dance/performance, architecture (including engineering) and design, even math and literacy follow patterns and have their own language and beauty. I admire all types of creativity and artistic expression, which are so important in the early years and I highly encourage and support them in my classroom! That being said, I am happy to formally introduce you to an important piece of the JK program: Arts integration.

When I completed my Master’s of Education, my final project drew on many of the courses I had taken as well as my decades of teaching experience. It is a ‘Ted Talk’ style presentation about arts integration in a Junior Kindergarten setting, weaving together an arts curriculum with the trilingual program here at OJCS. I talk about my personal teaching philosophy and elements of Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences, which I use to create experiential learning opportunities for each and every student. Let me know if you’d like to hear it, I’m happy to share! This is what I use for my everyday curriculum design, and it helps each student really connect to and deepen their learning experiences – each in their own special way.

Here in JK, we have been integrating the arts since the very first day of school. We have done many crafts, process art projects, and STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Art and Math) activities. We have gained music with Moreh David, but sadly, lost our official art period. So, I have begun formally teaching the 7 elements of design: line, form, texture, pattern, light, space, and colour, and will be investigating and integrating these elements into our curriculum over the next 7 weeks, seeing how they connect with what we already know, and exploring where they can take us.

We kicked off this past Monday with the first element – ‘line’. We learned that lines have a beginning and an end. They can be straight or curved, and go in many directions, and even switch directions in the middle. We read the story “Harold and the Purple Crayon” by Crockett Johnson and each student got to be author and illustrator of their own version of the story! Check them out here.

On Tuesday, we explored ‘line’ through a scientific lens and created zip lines – one of our favourite things to play with in the playground. We used paper towel rolls, straws, different types of string, and feathers as decorations to create the bodies that travel along the zip line. We learned new concepts and vocabulary (zip line, trolley, gravity, weight, speed, and friction). We experimented with different materials (for the zip line) to test friction and discovered that a rough rope creates a lot of friction, causing the body to go slower, and a smooth rope creates less friction, therefore the body goes faster. Each student will be bringing their zip line kit home at the end of the week and they are super excited to show you!

Today, we learned a little bit about cowboys, specifically line dancing! We learned the steps to the ‘Cowboy Hustle’ and you can practice at home with your child(ren) using this helpful video.

Your children are so excited to see what else is in store for them tomorrow and Friday, and we will continue next week with the element ‘form’. 

See you tomorrow evening at the Semaine de la Francophonie celebration!

just another Wednesday here in JK…

Even though it was too cold to play outdoors, it didn’t stop us from expanding our horizons indoors! We worked on our letter of the week, P, and named SO MANY words we know that begin with P. We did some name writing practice, built with all kinds of blocks, talked about Tu Bi’Shevat, learned some new words (trunk, branches, leaves, and roots), learned about shivat ha’minim (the seven species), and started preparing window frames for our upcoming germination project.

 

And then…

JK was so excited to receive this AMAZING pack of accessories for our light table, through Scholastics Rewards from the book fair. Thank you Brigitte, and thank YOU parents for your Scholastics books purchases!! This morning we checked out the translucent shape beads and used them to measure animal x-rays. We can’t wait to experiment with all of the other cool things: eye droppers, test tubes, translucent patterns, and paint scrapers. This kit even came with translucent overlays that we can paint on directly, and then wash off to experiment and play with another day!

Tu Bi’shevat higiya!

Welcome back from winter break! Your children adjusted really quickly to being back in the classroom and were excited to jump right back into learning! We kicked off with a discussion about the upcoming holiday of Tu Bi’Shevat. We talked about what trees provide for humans, animals, and the environment. We looked at our empty, frozen, snow-covered Canadian trees, and beautifully blooming almond trees in Israel, talked about the similarities and differences of Tu Bi’Shevat in Canada and in Israel, and then translated that learning into some beautiful art. Take a look!

an exploration of shapes

Here in JK we have started to explore the wonderful world of shapes! We started out with circle, triangle, square, and rectangle, counting their sides and corners, examining their symmetry, and learning their names in Hebrew and English. We added hexagon, in honour of snowflakes! Hearts, stars, and all kinds of polygons are next. One of the ways we learn about shapes is through games. Another is through song, and the class favourite: experimenting with different art techniques using various media. See photos below! As we expand our knowledge, we will add French to the mix.

the final product!

Using Hebrew letter stamps, JK decorated their latke platter to create a letter and name recognition game. On the back of each of their torn-paper latkes (which dried beautifully over the weekend!) is one Hebrew letter from their name, which they have to match to one of the golden letters on their platter. They’ve been practicing all morning and will bring them home before Chanukah!

something’s cooking in JK!

The past 2 days we’ve been experimenting with torn paper, water, and white glue to make “latke batter” We listened to Chanukah songs while we tore up a bunch of paper (some from our recycling bin!), added water, let sit overnight, and checked out what happened to it all this morning. Then, we squeezed out the water, mixed in white glue, smoothed it together, and shaped our “levivot” – one for each letter in our names, and set them out to dry … stay tuned for the final results next week!

Can you guess whose names these represent?