Monday, October 3, 2011

Working It Out on Their Own

We like to use the dry erase board and we often use it when we're not painting at the easel.

This week, two boys went to the board. (They asked, "Can two work here?" Of course, I said yes.)

They worked together to draw, alternating drawing and erasing. Draw. Erase. Draw. Erase. Some fun designs were created.

When I returned to the boys drawing, I found something new.

"It's a volcano, with lots and lots of lava."

"This way we don't need to erase," one boy explained to me.

I was pleased that the boys recognized that something wasn't working, at least not working as they wanted it to do. So, they created a solution. All on their own. No adult helped them think it through. No outside "judge" imposed a decision. They figured out what to do to make things work better for them.

I enjoyed watching them draw and erase, working hard to keep the line intact. Of course, if part of the line was erased, they just redrew the line and continued on.

Problem-solving is an important life skill. The classroom provides a place to practice and work out these skills. I see kids do it every week - when they want the same blocks or the last seat at the art table. I see them work out ideas in dramatic play, offering ideas and incorporating others' thoughts.

Facts and knowledge are important things, but some of these "softer" skills (problem-solving, creativity, caring for others, and so forth) are key to living in a community. I'm glad to see these kids are working to master all the skills they need for future success.

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