We put out the doll furniture with the wooden blocks. Since we were talking about families, I thought the kids may build rooms or houses and use the furniture. At the very least, the furniture could trigger conversations about homes and families.
One boy came to the center. We talked about the fact that there was furniture there. He pulled all the pieces out and placed them on the floor. He moved them around a little - then he declared, "Oh, it's a yard sale."
He arranged the pieces in various configurations until he was pleased with the display. We continued to talk about different things--the furniture and yard sale, other things that he was thinking, maybe a few things I was thinking. He picked up one piece. "The stove is sold," he told me as he set it aside, "for $150."
"$150? That's good," I said.
Then he picked up the couch. "The couch is sold," he said. "$60,050."
"Wow," I said, "that is a lot of money for a couch."
"Somebody paid it," he said. (I had no comment to that.)
Even after...all...these years of teaching kids and working with them, they surprise me. That's why I try to stay out of their way. I have idea when I plan the classroom activities and put out resources. I know what I think may happen. But I always try to communicate that the kids can use their own ideas. I learn about them and their thinking as they build or draw or play.
If I'm not open to new ideas and directions from the kids, then I'll miss the surprises and insights that I can learn.
The yard sale play went on for a while. Then the boys were off to paint or something else. Others came and moved some of the furniture around. Some pushed it aside to build with blocks. (Not rooms or houses but towers.) That's the nature of the classroom.
But I'll always think of the yard sale when I put out this furniture. And I'll handle that couch with a little more respect. After all, someone paid thousands of dollars for it.