Friday, March 6, 2015

Just Find a Spot to Land

Usually in my church kindergarten class, I move around. A lot.

I move from one area to another, interacting with kids in whatever they are doing. I listen. I ask questions. I answer questions. I talk about what I see kids doing. (Narrating, as Teacher Tom says.) I pay attention and I learn.

However, recently, I discovered that staying in one place has benefits, too.

A couple of kids were working puzzles at a table. I moved over and sat down. We interacted, just like always happens. The boys finished their puzzles and moved away.

I stayed seated at the table, watching what was happened nearby in the blocks center.

Another boy came over. He said something to me and we talked. He sat down and began working a puzzle.

Another boy came to the table and began to work. We talked about what they were doing and other things.

Those boys left as someone walked up to me on the other side. He showed me what he had done at the art table and we talked for several minutes. He explained his drawing and why he did what he did. I asked a couple of questions. He put his drawing on the "take home" table and came immediately back to work a puzzle.

This happened for a while. Several kids came and went. Some brought other things to talk to me about. I didn't move out of that (tiny) chair until the table became full and a child needed the space to work a puzzle.

I don't think I've seen that much activity with puzzles in several months. Our kids like puzzles and will work them when available. But not usually like I saw that day.

So what? Why did I tell this long story about our puzzle experience? Well, I realized something.

My presence (an adult presence, that is) brought more attention to the table. I think that some kids may have just wanted to have conversation or a quiet moment with an adult. And there I sat.

Maybe, my "on the move" approach is counterproductive to good interactions, sometimes. Maybe some kids are looking for a moment to talk or just be with a teacher - and I'm wandering around the space. Perhaps I've been chased a few times and never even knew it.

I'll still move around the room. I have some great conversations and see some great things when I do. But sometimes I'll just stop and wait. Those great conversations and great things can find me occasionally, too.

(This reminded me of my talk vs. quiet experience a few weeks back. Maybe I just need to start doing the opposite of what I normally do!)

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