Friday, May 27, 2011

sometimes being in charge means having wet pants

From Making Learning Visible on teaching "there is also an element of improvisation, a sort of 'playing by ear,' an ability to take stock of a situation, to know when to move and when to stay still, that no formula, no general recipe, can replace."

I've been reflecting moment to moment on when to step in and when to simply listen and watch children. I've stepped back more than usual as a bit of an end of the year experiment, which has resulted in moments of awe as I re-realize how completely capable children are and there have also been moments where all I can say is "oyyy!" and smile at our reality. one of those "oy" moments happened during outdoor play as children noticed puddles dotting the landscape.

First, children explore with gentleness and the help of nearby twigs.

One child enters the puddle slowly, with caution...

and heavier steps soon follow.

Soon many feet took the plunge, some even stomping in the puddle, sending waves of water up their pant legs. With this I said "what happens when you step in the puddle like that?" As they peered down at their leg I heard a resigned "you get wet." With that a few abandoned the puddle and a few persevered, stomping until their shoes and pants were, well...soaked. The puddle jumping and as we went back in the classroom - a few shoes checked at the door - it was well worth it. I don't think me a year ago would have allowed the puddle insanity but really this is what learning is all about - being curious, getting messy, wishing you had done something just a little bit differently, doing it different the next time, timing how long it takes your pants to dry, and really just having fun.


  1. bravo! This is such a nice description of one of those moments when you realize something new about teaching. Thanks for sharing it

  2. I was happy to read of your honest self assessment, that this is something you would not have allowed in the past. Your next question perhaps (to yourself) , next time this happens might be- What are some other questions I can ask to suggest deeper inquiry. Like, "I wonder what else can make those ripples, or waves I see in the water by your feet?" Bravo for you yourself taking the plunge!

  3. Thank you for the the encouraging words and insight ladies! Marla - your comment about next steps really speaks to the need for collaboration with peers. As I take these beginning steps on the Reggio path I have come to realize how necessary it is to have feedback from peers about documentation. It's really not always possible at school so thank you for reaching out here - the school away from school community.



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