Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Why I teach!

It's Tuesday and it has been one of those thought provoking weeks where I stand back and the end of my day throwing  my "lesson plans" to the side because what my kids wanted to do was SO much more productive then what I had "planned."  I am so blessed that I live in a school and a district that allows me to teach in this fashion as long as I "map" what I have taught.  (Don't worry, I will have it by the end of the year.  I take really good notes.)
 This week we are learning about Problem solving.  At 4 we are SO good at this.  We have such good ideas.  We are not afraid to try anything.  And yet somewhere between here and middle school we quite using that God given thing called a brain and we stop learning that we can solve problems.  We quit trying.  We quit taking a chance.  Our Problem was simple:  How do I move the plate? No one laughed at an idea.  No one said it would not work. In fact many times I heard, "Oh, that is a good idea."  I did "force" them to choose something else if their idea was already taken but I am just amazed at their list. 
*with a bucket                           * push it with your feet                     *use your hands
*with a remote control              * a thing to drive it (motor)               * you can hold it up
* with a stick                             * wing                                                * with a race car
* with a shovel                          *make a wave                                   * with a flag (sail)
*push it                                      *push it with a bucket                       *make the water move
*something else floating           *by swimming in a boat to move it     * push the water
*push the water with a boat       *you can bump it                                *with a fork lift
* make a dinosaur push it
 I stood looking at their ideas thinking, "I love my job."  That was Monday. 
And then today...We began our day reading the book The Gruffalo by Julie Davidson.  If you have never read the book, I suggest you run out a buy it.  SO, good!!! (Spoiler Alert!!!)  I read the first 1/2 and stopped.  The story is fantastic. The fox sees a mouse invites him to lunch.  The mouse, who is a quick thinker, invents a creatures called a Gruffalo and tells the fox that he can't come to lunch because he is having lunch with the Gruffalo whose favorite food is roast fox.  When the fox runs away the mouse laughs because there is no such thing as a Gruffalo.  Half way through the book, the mouse finds himself face to face with a real live Gruffalo.  This is where I stopped our story.  I then told the kids it was time to go to centers.  One of my precious little guys asked, "Can we play Gruffalo?"  Now, please tell me how in my right mind I can tell them no?  So, I allow them to head to the science center (which at this point was the only center that no one had chosen).  I had 5 boys that wanted to play.  They completely had who was playing which part and had began chasing each other around the room before I had everyone in their centers.  So, we had to set some ground rules.  I know that you are playing but,  you can not run and you can not "bite" even if you are pretending.  Then we gathered paper, index cards, crayons and string and set to work so that they could make character cards for the class to see who they were in the story.  I wrote the names of their characters for them to copy.  And they set to work.  They spent 45 minutes replaying the story.  I did not get my "sorting assessment" completed.  But let me tell you I saw some AMAZING learning, problem solving, cooperation, support, and encouragement not just from those five boys but also from my class who watched them preform the first 1/2 of the story.  They laughed so hard when the little mouse said,  "Silly .... doesn't he know there is no such thing as a Gruffalo." 
That my friends is what I LOVE about teaching.  That my friends is so much more then just "I played Gruffalo today!" 

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