In the blocks center I had trees with the blocks. I also put the word mountain near the blocks.
We had been talking about the mountain that Moses and the people had gathered around. A boy wanted me to build with him. "If we put the blocks like this and this and this," he said, staggering his hands, "we could make a mountain."
He formed a ring with the blocks. "See, it's ready. All the way around," he said.
Then we stood a block on each of the ringed blocks.
"Now like this," he said. We stood blocks inside the others, making an inner ring. He decided that the tall block could be in the middle, to be the middle/top of the mountain.
"Now," he said, "we will put a tree on each one. If there are not enough, we will put two trees on each one."
I watched him develop a plan, think through what to do, solve the problems that arose during the construction, and see it through to completion.
Even though building a mountain was the suggestion, my friend was in control of the entire thing. In fact, he could have even built something else. The decision to build a mountain was totally his. And the way to build it was totally his.
Sometimes I fret that I don't give enough leadership or structure to activities. But this reminded me that kids taking the lead is the best way for learning to develop. Suggest and release. That's my teaching style.