Monday, February 9, 2009

"Miss Dyer, I have a lesson I want to present."

I heard the above captioned phrase twice last week. The first was as a result of not being able to fulfill a request. Zoe asked for a handout sheet for the number nine long chain. When I told her that I did not have one, I suggested that she make one herself. As we discussed how to make the appropriate sized dots for the beads, we ended up talking about the colored bead stair - triangle.

For me, it has been an ongoing debate with myself regarding whether or not I should keep the copies of the colored bead stair for illustrating on the shelf or not. Again and again, I have observed children carefully coloring in the first few rows of beads and then simply drawing a singular, or multiple, line of the correct color across the outline of the beads without careful attention to their work. The work has often looked very sloppy. Granted, some children did a wonderful job completing the entire work.

When Zoe and I were discussing replacing pencil illustration for this above mentioned work with colored hole-punched dots, I got excited. After our discussion, Zoe sat quietly for a few minutes thinking about how to go forward. I cautioned her to slow her thoughts down and to think of each step, including the materials she would need for the tray she would have to assemble.

She got to work and stayed silently with the work for most of the morning. She made a control card for the tray, filled a tin with colored pieces of construction paper, found a glue stick and asked me if she could use some of the blank sheets already on the shelf. She also asked for a tray.

When the music box was turned on, signaling the end of the morning, she laid out a rug in front of her, got a chowki and placed her tray on it. As soon as the children settled, she began her presentation.

She spoke slowly and carefully displayed each step for the other students.

When it came to the seven bead she told the class, "This is the color that is the most challenging. Even though it is white you need to punch out white holes to glue on the seven spaces. Don't forget to do this or else you may lose your place."

When she was done presenting the children and I applauded. "Who do you think will be the first person to do my work, Miss Dyer?" she asked excitedly a few minutes after circle time ended.

She re-presented the work to the afternoon kindergarten class. It has been used frequently in my room. Below is the completed work of one of the four year olds:

She has volunteered to assist younger children struggling to use the hole puncher. She stole my heart and Mrs. Ryan's too.


The next day, Dylan told me he had a lesson he wanted to present. At circle time, he demonstrated how to use the square metal inset to make a hexagon. Although he moved quickly through his short presentation, he captivated his brief audience.

He continued his presentation later on larger paper:

I believe fellow students are truly captivated by their peers giving a lesson. It allows them to honor their classmates knowledge and abilities, while simultaneously inviting them to think of lessons that they may someday present.


Susanne said...

Such fantastic work. I would love to sit in your room and observe all life long! Can you point me in the direction of more science resources for simple experiments that can be carried out independently in our classroom?

Susan Y. Dyer said...

Susanne...I will put a short list together and get back to you in a couple of days. Thanks for the positive feedback.

Susan Dyer
The Moveable Alphabet