Understanding Children’s Work

 

What do you see in the image above?  When I do a “free explore” exercise with students, I walk around and see what they are drawing.  Sometimes, it is apparent what they are drawing, whether it be a more abstract pattern or a specific object.  But, in many cases, I assume they are “just” messing around.

I happened to have my son Aidan sitting on my lap when I was teaching him how to use the shapes program.  He is in Kindergarten and I also do the Shapes free explore lesson in Kindergarten.  Looking at his work, I am not sure I would have known the intent of the above drawing without being there.  The object on the left is a caribou.  We have been listening to a Joan Henry recording of Native American stories and Aidan has become interested in caribou.  The rightmost third of the drawing is a maze and I find the 3 dimensional aspect of the maze interesting.

My point in all of this is that you learn a lot when you take the time to either work with children one on one or ask them about their experiences, which I did in the robotics interviews (see earlier posts).  We miss a lot when we don’t.

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