I've heard it. I've seen it. And I never ceased to be surprised by it.
Process over product.
I saw it again recently. I pulled out an old favorite for the kids a couple of weeks ago - masking tape roads and cars. Just like always I put out the colored tape, scissors, and small cars. Just like always, the kids began to cut tape and make a network of roads.
But I noticed something as they worked. It has happened a little before but was very clear this time. The kids enjoyed using the tape and making roads, parking lots, and more roads. But the cars stayed in the tub. No one used the cars to drive on the roads.
Now, I'm fine with that. But cars are usually generate a lot of interest. Especially when we have lots of boys in the room, like this year.
But more parking spaces and more roads appeared while the cars stayed put away.
After a little while, one boy began arranging cars on the roads. But the cars were basically props, final touches to the road creation. They didn't really drive them around on the roads or create "car scenarios" like others have done.
They did drive them a little...but mostly just arranged them in meaningful ways around the roadway.
One boy took the tape and did his own thing. He created a house.
This generated a lot of discussion, mostly about the lack of windows.
"How will you get light?"
"Duh, there are lights inside."
"What if there's only one light?"
"What if that light goes out?"
"Dun...dun...duunnnn" (dramatic music)
"What if there were no light bulbs? You must have windows."
One boy explained that windows were needed so you could look outside and see your dog and see if there was bad weather so you could bring the dog in. "You must have windows!"
All in all, I noticed that the doing was the important part. The process of cutting tape, figuring out how to keep it from sticking to itself (and trashing what did do that), creating colorful road designs, and thinking about what to add.
My favorite addition - this device that will punch you back on the road if you fly off.
So often in working with kids, we (adults) are too concerned about what they are making or what the end result will be. Often the kids are learning and discovering and enjoying just the doing of it.
Just the doing of it. I think that's how I will think about my teaching now. I'll just enjoy the doing of it and not try to get too stressed out about the final outcomes. (Those are important - but I don't want to miss the joy.)
Past Tape Road Posts---
We Love Tape
Roads on a Tablecloth
V is for Vehicles