We have a puzzle in our room that's a fairly straight-forward puzzle, as puzzles usually are. At least that's what I thought.
Four kids in a line. Take out the pieces and put them back in. At least that's what I thought.
But you can create new configurations of kids. Different unusual kids.
And you can create a really, really tall (and really, really odd) person.
Oh, the howls of laughter when we create these different people.
These are the wonderful surprises that I love to see when teaching young kids. These are the "paychecks" I get. I love it when kids think outside the box (or outside the puzzle frame, literally, in this case). Exploration and play are so important to helping kids see possibilities and try out ideas.
Sometimes I talk with teachers who seem a little afraid of free play and choices and kids' explorations. They want a more structured (and secure for them) atmosphere. I get that. I don't want things out of control or crazy or chaotic.
But kids all doing exactly the same thing at exactly the same time means I miss an artistic moment. Or a two-story structure. Or a really, really tall person.
And a calm and quiet classroom isn't worth missing those things. At least that's what I think.