I am excited to share that I was able to do Voices from the Land with my Pre-K (four year old) students this year. If you missed my previous post about the Voices experience, you can find it here:
* A further update, you can now find Voices from the Land programs in your own area by visiting the group’s new site: www.monarchteachernetwork.info
With the help of the awesome Mrs. M and her para, Mrs. T, we first had the students practice indoors. Here I was able to use my art period to show the students examples from the Voices catalog, provided when you take the workshop, and then have natural materials available for creating at each table. Slightly different materials were provided at each table and after about eight minutes, the groups would switch to a different table.
Each time a group switched they were encouraged to talk more, to work with one another on the same idea. This comes naturally to some children and is difficult for others. The adults were present to prompt more language and teamwork from the children.
By the third round, the children were spending longer on their constructions and communicating with their team much more effectively. This practice really helped prepare them for their experience out in the garden area.
The following session, we brought the children out to the school butterfly garden area and split them into groups. Their first task was collection. When you are able to do Voices at a wholly natural site, the students can go off with their buckets to collect from the land around them. In this case, we were on school grounds, which is mowed land except for our garden area. To make up for this, some natural materials were brought in, such as pinecones, daisy flowers and sticks. Some items I actually just brought around from the front of the school, so only minor relocation was needed!
Students chose their materials from our available piles as well as from invasive species in the garden (like clover) and brought them back to their building site. From there, they knew what to do! Students still needed to be prompted to talk with one another, but overall they were great teams. They built upon each other’s ideas and allowed everyone to contribute.
One adult per group was assigned the role of recorder to take down the language of the children as they were building. This language along with what they said during their short presentation of their art is what’s used to craft the poetry.
The poetry happened back in their classrooms with Mrs. M this time. The one year I did the poetry with the students, I had all the words of the students on paper strips. Working with one group at a time, I helped the children to arrange the words and phrases the way that pleased them. This becomes their poem!
See a couple more of our finished posters from this year below. The artworks can be incorporated into photo books or instagram/twitter graphics or simple posters like we opted to do this year.
We were squeezing this in at the last possible moment this year- ha! I was working on the last of these on our final day of school so we could share them with parents digitally. For expediency’s sake, I used a pre-formatted Microsoft Word poster file. I was able to just change the color the scheme for each poster. They are a nice little collection for our 2017 Voices experience. Thanks for reading!