We do things in a consistent way in my class. Kids like knowing what to expect. While we do have a variety of activities and change some of the things we do to create interest and curiosity, we do have a few "routines" that maintain a comfortable consistency.
For example, after our time of learning and exploring through activities, we clean up and gather chairs for some group learning time. We count chairs and make sure we have enough for everyone. Kids help do this, giving them some responsibility (and real-world application for math!).
Last week something disrupted this ritual--I was sick and not there. The kids cleaned up and gathered the chairs, one for each child. The chair for the teacher to lead was in place. Still, Ian went to get another chair. Mrs. Cindy called to him and said we had all the chairs we needed.
"I'm getting one for you," he said.
She indicated the lead chair. "I'm sitting here."
"But you sit behind us," he said.
"I'm going to lead the group," she said.
Everyone was confused. Mrs. Cindy never leads the group. But, since I wasn't there, she did. My absence had upset the regular routine. Cindy was in the wrong place. They didn't need the extra chair. Confusion (if only for a instant) took over.
Kids like their routines. We have a few. (When you come in, place personal belongings near the door; when painting, put on a smock before and wash your hands after; and so forth.) These routines build in predictability and security. And a strong foundation for learning.
(And it was nice to learn that I was missed!)
Photographer: brad montgomery