This is what learning looks like. It’s messy (look at the first picture!) and it’s beautiful, too!
When children are given time to create with these materials, it’s amazing what happens - and the different levels of difficulty we can see!
One young lady spent her time sorting by color as she built with cuisenaire rods. Another one took a lot of time to build something with each side exactly the same.
Teachers: What would you say to your students when you see these?
When you say “That’s beautiful!” Or “I love it!” You are giving a VALUE judgement to this work - and you’re not even REALLY telling the child that you SEE what they did!
So then, what DO you say? Well, you have a few options.
Academic Coaching: Say exactly what you see.
“That’s neat how you sorted all of the colors!”
“I can see you chose to use yellow, blue, red and green rods.”
“Wow! The way you placed the green rods makes them REALLY long!”
“I see the yellow rods are shorter than te blue rods.”
“Your structure is symmetrical! It’s exactly the same on both sides!”
If you begin practicing “Academic Coaching” every day, it will become second nature and you won’t even have to think about it. By using this technique we are helping BUILD the thought process of our preschool students.
Another approach -
This is used to encourage children to focus, be patient, concentrate and all of those other “inner strength things” that don’t come naturally.
Examples of Persistence Coaching:
“You are really taking your time to place each rod exactly where you want it.”
“I can see you are working very hard at…..”
“I can tell you are being very persistent because every time that block/rod falls down, you are taking the time to put it back.”
“You must be concentrating really hard to keep all of the background noise from distracting you.”
“You are working really hard to keep your body calm.”
“I know you’re excited, but I like how you’re trying really hard to use your indoor voice.”
Persistence Coaching is SO important! As you can see, it’s not the outcome that is valued, but the hard work put into it, and who doesn’t value hard work?
Persistence Coaching is unnatural at first and takes a lot of practice - if you’d like to practice, you can come practice on me!