Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Busy Giving Lessons I Didn't Even Notice When The Telephone Wires Went Up

Two of the older boys in my class have been working on building a city off and on now for several weeks. As soon as they entered the classroom they became very occupied with their project. I let them continue without asking them to explain what they were currently working on. During the first two hours of the morning several children came to me asking who had the tape. I gave each of them the same answer - Jack has it.

Just before I rang the bell for a group lesson, I heard the two boys discussing their method of measuring distances. Both thought that the other's counting was wrong. I stepped over to see what the concern was. It was then that I saw the carefully constructed telephone "wires" running across a long piece of cardboard which had been colored to look like a dirt and pavement covered landscape.

One of the boys was counting too quickly and was making an error in his total. What they were counting was the length of the cardboard as they wanted to divide it by the number of "poles" to see if they were equally spaced in their placement. One of the "poles" was leaning in at one end and they felt this was caused by wrong placement. That it was either placed too far away from the last one or too close. I watched as one of them measured the distance again. Their measuring instrument was a coffee stir stick. Several of these had been used for the "poles." Finally, their two totals matched. The board was 5 1/2 stir sticks long. They adjusted the placement of one of the poles and seemed satisfied. The distance between each seemed almost perfect.

Next I asked how they had made the holes for the "poles" as they were so perfectly round. "We used a push pin from the continent work," Dylan answered. The "wire" was made from tape.

I was very impressed. Shortly after I took a few photos they dismantled the construction. I had not asked them to. They were simply done. I mentioned the dismantling to Patti who wisely answered, "It's about process not product."

I was glad I took the photos.


Packer Family said...

Wow! Kids are so amazing!

Montessori Mama said...

I love your blog and just nominated you for an award!
PEACE to you and yours in 2009
Jennifer aka Montessori Mama

Susan Y. Dyer said...

Wow...thank you Montessori Mama. I love your blog too.

Susan Dyer

NJ Tracy Jean said...

My biggest thrill at school is when they come up with these wonderful "projects" all on their own. Makes my heart sing!

MontanaMontessorian said...

I'm curious about how you go about providing "extra" art materials for your older children to experiment and create with. I have two shelves with progressive art activities for different abilities and I get frustrated when a five year old just takes all the paper from several activities and cuts and cuts and tapes and tapes. I feel that this is a true creative process, but then there is no paper left for the other activities which are very important for the younger children. I suppose the obvious answer is to provide separate paper and supplies, but somehow when I've offered this, the children engage in more of a rapid, unfocused using-up-of-supplies kind of action. Any thoughts? I know it's not a very clear question

Susan Y. Dyer said...

I keep a large box in the back of the room for "construction" materials - shoe boxes,tubes, pkging, etc. I had a meeting with the older children at the beginning of the year and we came up with some guidelines for using these items. One of those was that you don't use all the pickles when you do pickle work so you don't use all the "construction" materials. It is a grace and courtesy lesson actually - being considerate to others by leaving enough for the next person to use. If there is only one or two items left in the box, a child will ask me if they can use the last pieces. You might read my posts dated Oct 11 and Oct 13.

Good luck,

Susan Dyer

Making of a Montessori Mum said...

Wow. What a fabulous post to read. thanks for sharing. (: