Posted on May 10, 2014
Making thinking visible. It is an idea implemented in the preschool and elementary, and teachers use a number of strategies to help students externalize their thinking and understanding about what they are learning -- internalized processes that are often difficult to engage. As you enter the elementary campus, look for evidence of the kindergartnersʻ thinking made visible about their research on the community of Mid-Pacific Institute. Their year-long in-depth inquiry included classroom observations throughout the school, interviews with different members of the school community, note-taking, drawings, photographs, and many conversations in small groups. Inspired by the art work of Andy Goldsworthy, Hottea, Chilhuly, and notable others, the children designed outdoor installations to symbolically represent their learning and to celebrate the 10th year of the elementary school. Take a tour of their artwork and experience their thinking. (An explanation of each installation is included in this blog.)
Upon entering the campus, youʻll immediately notice the tall palms with different colored pieces of fabric wrapped around the trunk of each palm. This installation represents the expressions of love that the kindergartners observed as they visited classrooms and analyzed student and teacher interactions. The multi-colored pieces of fabric represent the rainbow of people on our campus -- different roles, different ages, different personalities -- each surrounded by love.
At the turnaround, emanating from the shower tree trunk, are different color strands with clay beads that symbolize kernels of learning that keep moving forward. Kindergartners were amazed by the abundant evidence of learning everywhere at Mid-Pacific Institute. Learning spirals. Learning stretches us. Learning is reaching out beyond our limits.
Just before the entry onto the elementary campus is a shower tree from which long strands of multi-colored, shiny disks hang from branches. This is thinking -- shiny and colorful --each disk an idea connected to another, generating more thinking. Kindergartners observed a lot of thinking as they visited elementary, middle, and high school classrooms.
Venture forward beyond the gates and enter the Imagination Tunnel. Hanging on the playcourt fence are many CDs on which will be imaginative drawings by our elementary students. Kindergartners came to realize that imagination is magical and limitless! They experienced the magic of imagination when they could make their own theories to explain a phenomenon.
From the Kindergarten to the entire community -- Happy 10th birthday, Mid-Pacific Elementary!
For our children,
Edna L. Hussey