‘….wonders and mysteries…’

For the next session with Rosen class I wanted to further develop the investigations with reflective materials and kaleidoscopes following the interest the children had shown in ‘looking through things’, and to use the ‘lanterns’ we had made to explore magical transformation  effects.

I also thought it would be interesting to extend our tactile making into clay and devised an open ended activity based on the ice magic theme….the mysteries and imagining inspired by animal tracks in the snow…

the children had really enjoyed the previous slideshows I had shown them so I created a new one to help them make connections and reflect on previous learning.

‘wow’!…the children were amazingly responsive to the images of ‘aurora borealis’ and had some wonderful interpretive ideas… ‘looks like a dragon is firing green fire….looks like the paint is blowing all over the place……the circle is swallowing the trees inside….like a ghost…’

and the tracks generated all sorts of ideas about who, what and where…?…. ‘might be a mouse….maybe it leads to treasure….he’s going to his cousin’s house to see his family….someones’ walked in the snow….a million creatures!’

this sharing of ideas really excited them and they went off to create their own colour effects and model imprinted marks.

During our training session at the Totem Pole, the focus had been on ways to facilitate planning with the children, a key part of the High Scope ‘plan, do, review’ approach.

I suggested to Claire that we could use our ‘Thinking Tree’ as a central element in small group planning time, and find a way of capturing and recording the childrens’ intentions and decisions about their active learning choices.

I thought it would be a good idea to make this  a visual and tactile process, so that the children could start to make connections with their ‘thinking’ and the active learning zones that Claire was making in the classroom. My concept was to create a ‘planning strip’ for each area using colour, texture, materials and objects to reflect it’s character. These could then be suspended from the Tree as a visual reference for the children and teachers.

I was interested to see whether the children would make any associations when I introduced them to our small group planning time.

guessing which colour strip represented which ‘zone’ in the classroom was good fun and we talked about the patterns, textures, shapes and materials that had been used for each one. I suggested that claire could hang each strip with its zone in between planning time to help the children familiarise themselves with these.

I also gave two more blanks strips to the class for extra areas that the children and teachers could design and make together….I’m really looking forward to seeing what they come up with!

To personalise the strips we made badges from images of the childrens’ collage name badges from the first session. The children then used these to ‘plan’ which area they wanted to go to for their active learning time.

After strong winds and turbulence over several days the sensory ‘winter wonderland’ outside had evolved itself into a new kind of space with a number of hanging sculptures made using the materials I had left for Rosen class to continue to explore. Some elements had been transported inside the classroom like the ‘thinking tree’ and some of the arctic junk materials. This challenged us to rethink our illuminated lantern exploration so we decided to use the new ‘story cave’ structure instead and hung the lanterns up inside together with the reflective material.

Both the children and the teachers had really enjoyed making the ‘lanterns’….a very hands on sensory experience in itself!  They looked really lovely with their decorative additions of silvery ribbons and threads.





let’s see what happens when we light them up and create our own ‘aurora borealis’….!


About gizellakwarburton

Visual artist, contemporary textiles and mixed media. Sensory tactile creative sessions with schools, galleries and museums.
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