Our Students > Sky Month 2013

Sky Month 2013

2 buddies gus poetry buddy e nadav poetry buddy e sky poetry buddies e

Jack Borden, a resident of Athol created the For Spacious Skies program in 1980, a program designed to get children and adults looking up and noticing the sky in all its’ glory. Since then, Jack has been a driving force behind SKY awareness for children and adults.

Jack attended a Village School staff meeting in December, and touched the teachers with his description of how he woke up one day and really saw the sky for the first time. His enthusiasm inspired the SKY month project. Jack provided plenty of resource material to the school, created by different teachers over the years, who also included sky awareness in their curriculum.

In mid December, with Jack Borden’s encouragement, Skywatcher Cloud Charts, charts with beautiful color cloud photographs, went home with every child at the school, to tickle their sky interest over the school vacation. SKY month formally began in January and was explored in various aspects of the curriculum, in science, writing, reading, art and music.

Sky Month 2013

January was SKY month! If you passed by some mornings, you would have seen children lying on the snow, gazing up at the sky, older Reading Buddies scribing their younger buddies’ words, to make SKY poems. The children then went indoors and wrote their poems and drew SKY pictures. All students wrote SKY poems. For the grand finale, all the poems were read by the children aloud for the rest of the school to hear.

Here are some classroom logs about this project:

January 7 :: 4th-6th Grade

On Friday the children all went out on a glorious snowy morning to make notes about their impressions of the sky. It was warm and bright enough for many of them to snuggle down in a snow bank and contemplate the sky above them. Back in the classroom everyone began writing poems about the sky, drawing on their immediate experience. The children were so absorbed that they were disappointed when we had to stop for lunch.

Art this month will also be oriented skywards. Last week the class painted skyscapes, using brushes and sponges to create a varied texture, and this week we will be creating silhouettes to paste onto last week’s pictures.

January 7 :: 2nd-3rd Grade

We began our month-long study of the sky on Thursday. We began with observation and thinking about words we use to describe the sky. In writing, the children wrote poems from a ‘word bowl’. They each wrote down five words (one per index card) they would use to describe the sky. Then, they put their cards in the word bowl. Next, they chose five cards and used those words to create a poem. We shared our poems with each other today. The children have been looking up often. Some observations made last week were: “little lines across the sky,” “bright blue sky,” “The clouds make me feel stormy.” and, “They look like puffy marshmallows. It’s so tempting, I want to eat one.”

emmy's sky e emmy & willa sky e K-1 sky K-1 sky 1 preschool sky e K sky w sun e k sky w trees skypicturesadd

January 14 :: Preschool

Last week the children went outside with their Reading Buddies and looked at the sky and answered some prompts from the Reading Buddies like What do you see? and What do you feel? The older buddies are making the responses into sky poems which will be read this week to the whole school. The children drew pictures of the sky to accompany their poems.

January 14 :: 2nd-3rd Grade

Last week the children had fun looking at the sky and creating sky poems. On Thursday, they helped compose poems with their Reading Buddies. We all met outside and the children asked their buddies what they saw, felt, and imagined, which was a bit challenging with clear blue skies; however they were able to help their buddies add some good details. Then, we went inside and those with buddies in the preschool drew sky pictures, while those with buddies in K-1 helped turn their thoughts into poems. During art the children added a landscape to their sky pictures. They tore pieces of paper to create trees, mountains, and oceans.

January 14 :: 4th-6th Grade

We have all been looking up this week, and seeing things in the sky we’d never noticed before. On Tuesday the 4th-6th graders helped their younger reading buddies make observations of the sky, and take notes for them. Then, back in the classroom, the older children scribed the poems the younger ones came up with, prompting them where necessary.

All the teachers commented on how well the older children supported their buddies, pointing things out, helping them to stay focused and then patiently writing down the younger children’s ideas. It was a magic morning.

On Thursday, the 4th-6th graders again went out to find material for poetry and they were both more observant and more thoughtful than they had been with their first attempt the previous week. Several were excited to watch small clouds form out of nothing, drift over the school and then evaporate again, so that they saw the birth and death of a cloud in just a few minutes.

In class we discussed what the sky is, and Jasper was excited by the thought that ‘the sky’ is just an idea; it includes birds, clouds, the moon and galaxies, but you can’t touch it. The sky theme continued in art lessons as the children completed their skyscapes by putting silhouettes in front of the backgrounds they’d made the previous week. The results are varied and beautiful, and everyone is welcome to visit the class at any time to look at them.

our poem cole nell nora poetry buddy e poetry buddies kim e poetry pair e preschool poem work sky drawing talia poetry buddies (1) writing my poem writing the poem

January 22 :: Preschool

Last Thursday and Friday the children had their SKY poems read to the school by their Reading Buddies. As their older buddy read, each preschooler proudly held up their sky drawing for all to see. It was a good experience for everyone to get used to being in front of an audience.

January 22 :: 2nd-3rd Grade

Last week we gathered with the whole school to share our sky poems. The children sat with their buddies and read their buddies’ poems and their own poems. It was great to hear so many different poems about the sky. Children saw and imagined everything from scorpion clouds to choo choo trains to many shades of blue. They had fun working on this project and sitting together and listening to each other’s poems is the perfect way to celebrate all the hard work.

In art we created a sky painting using a water color wash with liquid watercolors.

January 22 :: 4th-6th Grade

We ended the week with whole-school poetry readings on Thursday and Friday. On Thursday, the 4th-6th grade class was the audience for the younger classes’ recital of their sky poems, and on Friday, the older children read their poems, along with those of their reading buddies, to the rest of the school, who were a rapt audience.

It was a very successful conclusion to the sky poetry project, which has involved every member of the school (staff and students!). Apart from the poems themselves, which had vivid and varied imagery, it was pleasing to see how well the 4th-6th graders read their poems aloud, drawing on the read-aloud skills we practiced earlier in the year.

In art, the class completed yet another sky project, this time using watercolor washes to create a sky image, and then blowing ink onto the dried paintings to make trees and other outlines in the foreground. We’re currently juggling our classroom display space to get all artwork onto the walls. It’s worth a visit.

emma emmie e gus & buddy e hannah bradley e jasper team K&5th share poetry e my sky pictures norah nell e poetry reading rhea talia poetry share e Cam Alijah e emily indi poetry reading e robbie charlie e see our pictures e goofy poets e

January 28

Even though we finished the SKY poetry project, our SKY awareness is never ending – children notice the sky at all times of day. Last Friday, after cross country skiing, many of the 2nd-6th graders noticed a ‘sun dog’ in the sky, an unusual type of rainbow effect. We are all going to keep LOOKING UP! And noticing what is right above us. It’s an art exhibition without any admission fee.

4th-6th sky paintings (2) 4th-6th sky paintings (3) 4th-6th sky paintings (4) 4th-6th sky paintings (1) 4th-6th sky paintings (5) 4th-6th sky paintings (6) 4th-6th sky paintings (7) 4th-6th sky paintings

Director Rise Richardson reports, “We are so grateful to Jack Borden for helping us to see what we had never really seen before, and yet is always right above us. As a school that has a strong contact with nature, we realized that this was one area we had never focused on as part of our natural world awareness. Even though it is no longer a formal focus at the school, we are all noticing the sky when we go outside, and I hear plenty of conversations between children about the sky. I hope it will be a source of wonder for the children for the rest of their lives.”

The compilation book of students’ SKY month poetry will be on display for all to see at the Open House at the Village School on Saturday March 2nd from 10 to noon.

(Please find the poems on the left.)