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I am the studio teacher in Zach's Place Studio, an AMS Montessori teacher, an artist, a mother and much more.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Shape- week three- Angelina

This week has produced some wonderful insights and some interesting observations. First, progressing from line to shape was a natural choice, aferall a shape begins where lines meet. Yet the students remain very interested in lines. They are interested in types of lines: wavy, zigzag, curved, straight, long, short and jagged lines in their environment. They approach me on the playground to point out a line or relay an event where they noticed one, maybe at the store or on a sidewalk. Shape would appear a similar study but it wasn't. Apparently, abstracting form into its component shape is a more complex process than I had initially thought. Form takes priority while line seems a bit more accesible. After a week of observing, it seemed that our students primary interest lay with exploring the building block of shape- line itself.

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.

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