I enjoy sitting back and watching what my kids do. I think that’s one of the great things about teaching. When things are going smoothly and no one need help, we can have a few minutes to sit back and watch. To see what they’ll do next. And many times, we can be surprised by the way these little people think and act.
Today we were playing on the playground, as normal. They were all engaged in some sort of monster game…running around and screaming. I was standing back watching, occasionally reminding one or other of my boys to keep their hands to themselves and not push or pull people down.
Then suddenly they all got the idea to lay down and look at the clouds. At first the comments were, “Look how fluffy they are!” and “Wow, those are big!” Eventually the comments changed to things like, “Look, there’s a pirate ship!” and “Yeah, it’s chasing after a sea monster!”
I was very surprised, and delighted, to hear them taking turns pointing out cloud pictures and weaving it all into a collaborative story. It was quite possibly the most awesome thing to happen all day. And all unprovoked . All on their own. This is the first class I’ve ever had do something like this. Despite all of our difficult moments, all of our ups and downs, this class still holds a lot of pleasant surprises. 🙂
We don’t have an actual playdough “center” – we just don’t have the room. So I try to get it out 2 or 3 times a week because I know how much the children LOVE to play with it! This week I wanted to add something different to the playdough to inspire more imaginative play. Usually we have cookie cutters, plastic knives, molds – you know, the standard playdough accessories. I wish I had planned ahead for this – but it was a last minute idea – and so I scrambled around in my room looking for something, anything I could add to the playdough table! I imagine if anyone had seen me – the sight would have made them at least chuckle to themselves! lol
After looking through my room, I decided to add feathers, some plastic ocean beads shaped like starfish, seahorses, shells, and fish (yes, I know we’re in a space unit – but this is all I could find), and some glass aquarium (?) rocks (the kind that are flat on the bottom) – not sure exactly what they are supposed to be used for in the real world – in our class they’re counters.
The kids went crazy! This has been by far the most popular area in the room all week! And I LOVE to see the kinds of creations they are making – so imaginative! On the first day of this new exploration of playdough I heard two children, a boy and a girl, whispering to each other:
Boy: “Isn’t this fun?!?!”
Girl: “I love the feathers! They are soooooo soft!” (strokes one against her cheek)
Boy: “Do you know what we are doing?” (very excited – jumping)
Boy: “We are making real sculptures!” (biggest smile ever on his face)
I had my class out on the playground this morning and half the class was playing a game together. I moved closer so I could watch and hear what they were saying. As I walked up to the group I observed one of my girls lift her hand to her ear to make a phone (like the sign language “Y”) and say, “Hello, 9-1-1 here – what do you want?” As you can imagine, I immediately wondered what kind of game they were playing!
After observing for awhile, I kinda worked out their game. One child was a police officer. One child was the police officer’s dog. The other children were cats. The police officer and her dog would run after the cats, capture them, and put them in “jail”. The cats who were still free would break the cats who were in jail out and the game would resume. Every so often the roles would change so each child got a turn being the police officer, dog, or a cat.
I thought this was a slightly bizarre game – but they seemed to really be enjoying it and played it for almost an hour! I must say, they have good imaginations to come up with this on their own. I also loved how they decided to take turns playing the different roles – with little fighting about who’s turn it was! It was a proud moment. I’ll miss these guys!