June 2, 2017

Morning work time with Melissa:

Last month a student from the Purple Room brought in a wax seal from home and showed it around. Children were curious about it so I told them that I had materials at home to make wax seals. Would they like me to bring my materials in to school? The answer was yes. And they reminded me, repeatedly, until I made it happen. 

In the Blue Room we made cards for someone that we like or love. Children picked their recipients quickly and enthusiastically- mostly parents and friends at RHP, although a few grandparents and out of school friends were chosen too. They considered what colors and shapes their recipient would like. 

What is an envelope?

It's a thing that you put something in. You put paper in it, Melissa. And then you send it to someone. 

A envelope is something that is made out of paper. That's bent. 

It's a place where you put cards in. So that you can mail them. 

After the children drew their cards they put them in envelopes and used a damp sponge to activate the glue on the envelope. I helped write a TO and FROM message on the front. When our envelopes were all ready I told a story about a time before cars and airplanes and computers and even mail carriers, when people lived in castles and farms and sent messages to each other in envelopes. They sealed these messages with candle wax and the impression of their ring. Then I demonstrated how to make a wax seal, while the children watched. I asked the children if they knew the song "Puff the Magic Dragon" and many of them did. We sang it together and listened for the part that mentions "sealing wax." 

Puff the magic dragon lived by the sea

and frolicked in the autumn mist

in a land called Honnah Lee.

Little Jackie Paper loved that rascal Puff

and brought him strings and sealing wax and other fancy stuff. 

The children were fascinated by the flame, not a material they see often at school, and there was much discussion during the demonstration about fire, lighters, candles, birthday cakes, burns, sunburns, and wax. There was even a reference to a "big candle man at a museum" which I am guessing was Urs Fischer's life size wax candle portrait of Julian Schnabel which was exhibited at the Whitney last year. The huge sculpture's wick was lit every morning, it dripped hot wax all day long, and was extinguished each night. 

As our wax seals cooled we did a quick art project. I asked the children to compose pictures by laying down squares of tissue paper on watercolor paper, choosing where they wanted each piece to go. When their compositions were complete we pretended that our pictures were gardens and spray bottles were rainclouds. We sent misty rain down on the gardens. And then drizzled some glue on top to hold our wet gardens in place. These collages are on display in the Purple Room. 

What makes a garden grow?

Rain! And plant food. 

And some sunshine!

Thanks for sharing your creative, curious, and competent children with me.