Monday, May 31, 2010

Third Way Thinking

I know that I always say this, but I am amazed at the kids' thinking and creativity. This week "J" spent a long time in the writing center, drawing an elaborate picture. He didn't explain but it looked like a loop-the-loop track with a race car speeding along (or something like that).

"J2" came to the center and began to draw, too. After a while, J2 was finished. He said, "Put this up." We have a bulletin board by the writing center and most of the time it holds whatever the children want to put on it. J2 handed his drawing to me and indicated where on the board he wanted it. I stuck it on the board and away he went.

J looked at the board and at his drawing. (He was on to another drawing at this point.) I could almost hear his thoughts: I want to take this cool drawing home but I want the drawing on the board, too. What can I do? His solution is another example of outside-the-box thinking that kids have.

He got another piece of paper. As he sat at the table, he said to me: "I'm going to copy this picture." He looked at his drawing and recreated it on the fresh paper. It wasn't exact, but many of the details are there. When done, he showed me where to place his copied drawing on the board and laid the original drawing on the table to go home.

J has inspired me. I want to harness that type of thinking. When I face a problem, I want to consider all kinds of possibilities. I want to think beyond my usual solutions. I want to forgo "either/or" thinking and find that third way. (And I pray that J doesn't lose that thinking as he grows and goes through our educational system.)

Some other examples of J's thinking:

He figured out a way to weigh the fruit and the basket all together:

He figured out how to make a block design without the same blocks:

His thinking...and the thinking of all my kids...continues to amaze me.


  1. The difference between children and adults belief system Scott is clear in "J's" thinking ... children believe they can do it ... where adults fear failure! I've learned so much about taking risks and having a go from the children I've taught over the years. I've learned that you can help a problem, it may not fix it but there is always something you can do to make it better and you never know, if you try, you just might fix it altogether. You've got nothing to loose!
    Donna :) :)

  2. This is a fantastic post Scott! I love the way you've tracked his problem solving over various areas and over time. Donna's comment reminds me of something my dad says, "I thought I was wrong once, but I was mistaken." That's the attitude.