Models and expectations
Last week, I introduced a tray of sorted color strips for the children, and I showed them how to make 3 dimensional rainbows. There were a ton, but here is a small sampling. Interesting how different they can turn out!
Definitely not like my model, which told me how creative and 'outside-the-box' thinkers they are!!!
Well with all of those paper strips, I had lots left over. So I thought I'd show the children how to make paper chains. I thought that since we've been exploring the idea of rainbows and colors, the paper chain would make a beautiful garland around the classroom. You know, a long colorful chain, where we all connect our chains to those of others.
Yeah, right. That's not how it went at all.
Nobody wanted to connect their chain to anybody else's, and they all wanted to decide where to hang their own up in the classroom.
Imagine how frustrating it would be for the teacher and the children if I had enforced my model about how this activity "should" go. The children were learning a new skill, so focusing on color arrangement and even looping two circles together took a lot of cognitive and fine motor control. Creating the chains based on my model was totally out of the question.
I had a model, but the kids had their process.
And once they realized they could make me "faint" because of how beautiful they were making the classroom, then the fun began.
What makes these children happy? Making Stephanie faint!!!
I was too busy fainting to take photos of what was happening, but I told the kids very firmly that they can't hang up their paper chains because it might make the classroom so beautiful that I would faint!!!
But of course they did it anyway.
They had so much fun making me faint and then waking me up that we ended up with paper chains all over the place!
The classroom is theirs. They chose where to put the decorations and how long to make them. The most important thing is that they had fun. This would have been a very unlikely outcome if I had made this activity go my way!
And, better than my expectations, our Rainbow Tree is also quite lovely these days.