Monday, September 23, 2013


Planning has been a big part of the classroom culture - our culture of thinking - over the years. Long ago I read the research of Elena Bodrova and Deborah Leong and was introduced to the idea of 'tools of mind' and their idea of creating 'play plans' has been a part of my practice ever since. You can read their case study here. It is another tool for making thinking visible and has a valuable place in the classroom.

Plans help us to be purposeful. When I think about the value of planning for children - I can't help but begin by reflecting on my own life and habits. I've always enjoyed and needed to sketch project webs and create plans for my teaching. Without this I would feel completely groundless. Something about putting pen to paper - using visual symbols and drawings combined with writing helps me focus and generate ideas. So right off the bat - I personally find planning valuable.

I also have a real warm spot for spontaneity. Sometimes it's in feeling (and allowing yourself to feel) groundless that inspired ideas arise.

Perhaps it comes down to walking the middle path. Living (and teaching) in the space between grounded and groundlessness. Developing and honoring the sense you get about the children and understanding when they could use a bit of planning to support a more purposeful, focused play.

But for today. We created plans in the block area and they supported children in their play for nearly an hour. To capture their creations - the digital camera was placed in the children's hands. To see (bits of their finger tips) and what is truly important to them is a special thing.

A plan made and dictation taken.

A castle created from the plan. And the camera given to the child to capture their own work of art.

Sometimes a finger gets in the way of the lens...but it's beautiful in its own way.

Another friend given the camera to capture the scooter house.

The plan for this 'house' was completely emergent writing - not one visual symbol.

When a child is given the camera - we are lucky enough to see what is important to them.

It is only our fifth week of the school year. I am constantly reminded of the complete competence and ability of young children every day and this small moment was no exception.

How do you use planning at home or at school with children?

I do wonder how our personal relationship with planning effects how we use planning with children...just a thought.

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