Tuesday, February 9, 2010

the book tree

I'm in placement this semester at Bloorview Nursery School, it's High Park site. It's an integrated classroom, meeting the requirements of our second year Children with Special Needs placement - there are about half and half kids with extra support needs and kids with typical needs. I am lucky - it's a really great school, and I'm learning tons.

My field educator Isabel is really great, and encourages me to 'be artistic' in the classroom. We laugh about it, as her background is in performance, and so we're a good match of artistic temperaments.

So...we're decorating the book-nook. I am into this - DEEPLY. I've already done a chalk mural of a pirate ship, following some of the kids fascination with pirates from a couple of weeks ago. But this project feels a little bit more integrated. Anyway, Isabel and i were jamming ideas about how to pull documentation, the kids' art and beautifying the classroom all together, when we realized that making a 'book tree' on the wall above the book area was the way to do it.

I sketched and cut out the bare bones of a tree (one of my favourite motifs) and stuck it up on the wall last week, on my first day of placement for the week. Then, on the second, we started a collage project with the kids, getting them gluing and cutting with different colours of cellophane paper and glue to make leaves to add to the tree.

The kids got right into it, glopping glue on and layering the clear colours on top of each other in a totally unexpected (why didn't i see that coming?) way. A couple of random objects also made their way into it, as well as the inevitable bits of glitter. Isabel and her team-teacher Tatiana continued it with the kids while i was gone, and i got back today to an interesting, still drying (after 5 days, that's how much glue) layered piece of work.

After all the kids left, i got to it with the scissors, chopping up the bigger collage into vaguely leaf shaped pieces, and this is what resulted.

The idea is to start with these leaves, all different colours of the imagination, and slowly add photos of the kids reading, pictures of favourite books and characters, and maybe even letter or words to the tree, tying it all together into a living documentation of creation and literacy in the classroom.

I feel real good about how we documented this too - the only thing is I forgot to take a picture of the bare-branched tree and the collage before i started cutting it up - but I'm a learner, it's ok.

I am proud of this. It feels great to merge two of my worlds, and felt great to put it together like this. I can't wait to see what the kids say tomorrow...

Nerd Out!

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