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  • Writer's pictureMarisa Ramsey

Smart Start 2023-2024: Week 2

Letter E Week!

This week our learning and play invitations were all about the letter E and the number 2. Students were invited to engineer with extra large blocks and loose parts. There were lots of opportunities to work and play in pairs. Whether it was Tic-Tac-Toe, Checkers, or Guess Who, the game tables offered fun ways to learn to cooperate and share. At the balance table, students experimented with finding equal weight in order to balance two sides of a scale. At the "egg-cracking" table, students used hole punches to crack paper eggs. Each invitation was a creative way to build dexterity and increase fine motor skills while also developing students' ability to talk with, negotiate with, and relate to teachers and friends.

This week's inspiration artist was Eric Carle. We read The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse and talked about how Eric Carle was inspired by Franz Marc, the artist we met last week! Students got to put their developing watercolor skills to use while painting their own horses. Just like Eric Carle and Franz Marc, our young artists were free to choose whatever color or colors suited them. As an artist, there's no limit to imagination. Horses can be blue and crocodiles can be red because anything is possible!

We had some special visitors this week! On Tuesday, we read the book Emergency and talked about what constitutes an emergency and who in our community can we call on for help. Brian Stephens and Christopher Ramsey with the Russell Springs Volunteer Fire Department stopped by to answer questions about being community helpers and to talk with our students about fire safety. We practiced what to do in case of a fire at school or at home.

On Wednesday, Brian Young who is part of our ArtWorks at The Creek team, brought something really special for our students to try excavator! Brian shared with our students what it's like to operate one of these big machines while working at The Creek.

We were blown away by how much these students already knew about big machines and how we use them. When asked, "Why might we need a big machine like this?" students were ready with answers!

"To dig a pond."

"To dig a creek."

"For a pool."

"You need it to build a house."

"It's to dig for pipes."

We connected this conversation to the engineering they were doing in the building center this week and talked about how important it is to have people who understand, can build, and operate these tools. During our outside play time, everyone got a chance to operate our Smart Start-sized excavator and move some rocks in our rock box.

September 15th is International Dot Day, a global celebration of creativity, courage, and collaboration, began when a teacher introduced his classroom to Peter H. Reynolds’ book The Dot on September 15, 2009.

The Dot is the story of a caring teacher who dares a doubting student to trust in her own abilities by being brave enough to “make her mark”. What begins with a small dot on a piece of paper becomes a breakthrough in confidence and courage, igniting a journey of self-discovery and sharing, which has gone on to inspire countless children and adults around the globe.

We love that Dot Day falls right at the beginning of our Smart Start year. The Dot is such a great way to encourage our young artists to just go for it and make their mark. It doesn't have to be perfect. It's enough that it's YOURS. One of our highest values is "Process > Product". We believe in the power of the process of making art. This collaborative dot banner is an effective way of starting the year on this empowering note.

We rounded out the week with journaling, The Shaky Egg song, and learning our first poem of the year. We got started on a canvas painting project that will take us through the entire year, played in the home center, practiced writing names, and much, much more! Letter E week, you were most EXCELLENT!

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