And, oftentimes, that means that my plans give way to their plans. And that's okay.
This week, since it was Palm Sunday, I set up materials in the blocks center to think about that particular story. I had some small coat shapes (cut from felt) and some leaf shapes. I had figures of Jesus and the crowd. My intent was for kids to explore and play out the story, if they chose. Also I thought they could build structures for the city and so forth, if they chose.
One boy laid out a coat shape. He looked around the center for a minute. Then he asked, "Where are the heads?"
Now I was confused. I asked him to repeat the question. Then I thought I got it.
I asked, "Are you looking for something to make a head on the coat figure?" He nodded.
I told him that I had not planned for that. "What do you think we could do?" I asked.
He and his friend pondered what to do. They talked about a few possibilities for what they could use. Then he said, "We could use paper."
I said, "Paper. How would we use that?"
He said, "We could cut paper to be heads."
"So," I said, "if I put out some paper and scissors, you could make heads?" He nodded.
So out came paper and scissors. I emphasized that cutting should only be for the paper. Not the coats. Not the leaves. Away they went.
After a while, they cut and cut. They cut shapes. They cut robots. They cut arms and legs.
"How will we get it together?" they asked.
"What could you use?" I asked.
They first decided to use glue. I only had glue sticks. Then another said, "Tape." I pulled out the masking tape.
They moved to a table to work, mainly because they wanted to add color and needed the markers in the writing center.
What resulted - the concentration, the conversation, and the final products - would never have happened without the scissors and manila paper appearing in the blocks center.
I continue to be amazed by the power of yes in my classroom. I'm glad I can say yes to these great ideas. And I must continue to remember that I'm not the only one with ideas in my classroom.
The kids have pretty great ideas, too.