An experiential, democratic learning community committed to real sustainability in East Austin, where youth ages 5-9 have the freedom to pursue meaningful learning, joy, and connection, guided with love and inspiration by Caitlin Macklin and Laura Ruiz.
Our Thursday afternoon art class with Kami Wilt of the Tinkering School has been a blast. We in the middle of a mosaic unit. Kami is inspired by Isaiah Zagar and the Philadelphia Magic Gardens and we are working towards a public installation in our neighborhood. Art in public places! Beautify your world!
Donate your broken tiles, dishes, pottery, glass, toys, trinkets...
We created collage postcards and sent them to area potters and businesses to solicit donations of broken material. We're going to need a lot, so please contact Caitlin if you can help!!
We visited Stefanie Distefano's FlamingO Ranch in South Austin, and were further inspired by her incredible studio and home, not to mention the work she's done on the bridge by her house!
We loved the clay tiles she made, and she showed us her technique for casting, so off we trooped to Armadillo Clay on Allen St. to get some clay of our own. We got a tour of the warehouse and Brent answered all our questions about how they make clay.
We also visited Clayworks on E. 6th, where John loaded us up with a box of broken tiles and let the kids help use the extruder. We toured his gallery and studio, and he sent us home with some of his own blend of earthenware.
Since Issue 50 of the Newspaper, we've morphed our literacy block into Writing Workshop.
I shifted this because in my observations of the kids, the
expectation of publishing something each Friday is preventing them from
developing their work further.
Friday mornings are still focused writing
time. The difference is that I will introduce the option of other writing
projects and genres, in unit format, during our mini-lessons. In kid language, we will be working on 'making writing stuff,' as Katy Wood Ray puts it in About the Authors.
When enough material is collected for a newspaper, we will publish it.
When other writing deadlines and publishing goals are met we will have
Author's Teas or Market Days to celebrate the work.
I will encourage the kids to work on their writing during Quiet Times as well to keep continuity.
This is the format:
mini-lesson (5 min, up to 10min when introducing genre or author study) independent work during that, one-on-one conferences with each child author share time
Our first unit has been about the Kinds of Things Writers Make. We have looked at the way many many different books are crafted, and the children have tried out some different genres. Sofia has been teaching about some of her favorite books, which are great springboards for writing!
Shark vs. Train by Chris Barton and Tom Lichtenheld
If... by Sarah Perry
Things that are Most in the World by Judy Barrett
Next we will be thinking about Where Writers Get their Ideas. Parents and Friends: Please send me any quotes by writers about where Ideas come from, and any titles or works on this topic - they don't need to be children's authors only! Your help in collecting this material is really appreciated!