Prior to last month’s holiday, the Golden Eagles developed a long-term interest in crafting with natural materials. This took the form of several nests made of sticks, leaves, and clay, as well as “magic” sticks, which were incorporated deeply into the students’ dramatic play. This new month and new year at school has already brought out the Golden Eagles’ penchant for crafting in all new ways.
On January 6th, our first day back at school, Eli, Camerina, and Riley played with yarn, stretching it and tying it around the entirety of the loft. Eventually, Camerina began dangling lengths of yarn over the balcony of the loft, saying she was “fishing”--at this point, I noticed that she had tied feathers to the bottom end of the yarn, resembling a fishing lure. Eli saw this too, and remarked, “You need a fish hook!” Upon reflection, Eli added that Camerina “was not real fishing”.
The following morning, Ms. Rahnum and I tried provocating “fish hook” play by setting the yarn beside some (blunt-tipped) metal hooks. Camerina, Riley, Catherine, and Ellie took to giving this work a try, and ended up dangling the “fish hooks” over the loft just as Camerina had the day before. Ellie also used our classroom’s blank postcards as “fish”, laying just below the dangling hooks. Finally, Zoe added to this play by cutting out fish on paper to join Ellie’s “fish”, and then “fishing” for these from above the loft herself.
After Camerina and co. had moved on to other games, Eli, Ethan, and Carlos were hanging out “in the big boat” on the top floor of the loft. When the seas became rough, the boys sang “WHOOOAAH!”, swaying this way and that way. Carlos and Eli tied yarn and plastic string around the boys’ waists and secured these to the bars of the balcony. As they swayed back, pulling the string with great pressure, Eli said, “It’s almost like we’re breaking it [the string]!”
It was beautiful to see Camerina spontaneously turn the yarn play-which already seemed to appeal to her immensely--into an intentional fishing activity by crafting a fishing lure. Furthermore, we watched Ellie, Zoe, and others spontaneously take part in and add to her work, as well as Eli, Carlos, and Ethan taking the strings and the overall concept of being on the water in a whole new direction. It is this sort of creative flux that I watch for when I document the Golden Eagles’ play, and which points to the potential for an ongoing, in-depth investigation, which could shape the classroom culture for weeks and months to come.
Later this week, our school’s pet goldfish died, and the Golden Eagles took it upon ourselves to walk to the pet store to purchase new fish for the school. Whether or not this activity informed this week’s “fishing” play is difficult to say for certain. Perhaps we could ask what would happen if we accidentally went fishing for “Jessica” and “Lilly” instead of wild fish on the sea!
In the coming weeks, we will have to see how “fishing” continues to be a part of the classroom culture. Furthermore, I would like to tease out which specific aspects of this game appeal to the students--is it a game of great heights and lengths of string, is it the dramatic play of “going fishing”, or do they simply love the chance to craft with yarn, paper, and feathers? Ms. Rahnum and I will continue to provoke the play in different ways to see how it transforms.
Until next time,