Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Cutting in the Blocks Center

cutting and taping figure
When working with the kids in my church kindergarten class, I have a couple of rules for myself. I try to be interested and involved in what the kids are doing without interrupting or changing things to be my ideas. I try to follow their interests and allow them to explore their ideas. And, while I will tell kids my own intent behind an activity (if they ask), I always encourage them to think and explore as they choose.

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.

cutting in blocks center

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.

cutting figures in the blocks center

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.

taping paper to make figures

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.

Cutting and taping man

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.

cutting and taping flying man

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