Thursday, December 11, 2014

"What Do We Do Here?"

A question I've been hearing a lot in my church kindergarten class - "What do we do here?"

A child will walk up to a table or to an area on the floor with materials and ask that question.

Tray of yellow paper (Brick by Brick)
My thinking: make a "nighttime" picture

My past answer: "When I put these things out, I thought you might _____, but you may want to do something else."

My new answer: "Look at the materials. What do you think you might do with these?"

Drawing before cutting (Brick by Brick)
Drawing before cutting

I've written before about my agenda vs the kids' agenda or encouraging kids to use their own ideas.

My church kindergarten classroom is a pretty open-ended place. You can choose to use the materials in just about any way you choose - within safety limits and "infringement" limits (not disturbing someone else's work).

Using the pen (Brick by Brick)
The pen (for writing names) becomes part of the experience.

So why do I get this question so often? I think it's an expectation from their school classroom.

Teachers put out materials and tell kids how to use them. (This is just my logical conclusion from my experiences with these kids--and those from past years.)

cutting and gluing (Brick by Brick)
Cutting, gluing, then a plan emerges

I hear a lot about critical thinking and creativity. It seems I need to encourage [some] kids to exercise that creativity or practice thinking about how to use materials.

I'm always amazed at the ideas that kids have. And the way they express their thinking. And the different ways they can use a group of simple materials.

Stop! There's a Shark! (Brick by Brick)
"They put a stop sign because there's a shark."

I'll keep putting out a variety of stuff. And hoping they will show me new ways to use it.

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