Friday, June 18, 2010

Let's Rephrase the Question

When I was younger I taught at a preschool for a number of years.  This is one of my all-time favorite memories from that time...

The head teacher in the four year old room was a big fan of performing random individual assessments of the kids' learning.  This particular day she had chosen a sweet, wide-eyed boy as her focus.  As this unfolded, I forgot all about the daily reports I was writing nearby and just enjoyed the show.  I'm so glad I did. :D

"Liam," Mrs. Dunne said, placing several felt pieces on the table before him.  "I want you to point to each shape and tell me its name."  He glanced at the the colorful cut-outs before looking back at her with uncertain eyes.  "Can you tell me what this one is called?" she asked, tapping the triangle.  He blinked at her a few times.  "It's okay if you aren't sure, do you have any guesses?" Mrs. Dunne asked patiently.  Brow furrowed, the kid rested his chin on his palm and scrutinized the triangle, square, and circle with intense concentration.  "What are their names?" my coworker repeated softly. 

There was a very long silence before Liam sat up in his chair with a jolt.  "I'm ready now!" he announced, beaming at her triumphantly.  She nodded and returned his smile.  With his little face full of sincerity, Liam joyfully jabbed an index finger toward each shape and identified them in turn:  "Connor, Michaela, and Jacob!"

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