Experimenting with DIY Watercolours

Every few months I have a major clean out and reorganisation of our art and craft supplies. When sifting through everything there’s some things that are recycled, some are binned and others are re purposed. Part of this process includes giving some tired,= and worn out textas a second chance at life. We did this by removing the ink fibres from inside the texta tube and placing them in water. After a few days we tested the ink but it was still quite watery. In the end we actually forgot about them for a few weeks so a great deal of water evaporated (another learning moment!) but thankfully it was this forgetfulness that led to some vibrant DIY watercolours!

With our new DIY watercolours ready to go I provided the kids with some paper (watercolour paper would be best but any paper that can absorb a small amount of water will do!), droppers and straws. From there it was simply a case of experimenting and exploring what the paint could do and my favourite past time – getting messy!

Through this process the kids had opportunities to experiment by mixing colours to create new ones, as well as analyse the movement of paint when moved about by hand or with straws and predict what would happen when oil was added on top of the paint.

The final products were really quite beautiful and turned better than we expected. The splatters and drops of watery colours mixed in with blobs of oil created some muddled rainbows on a now translucent paper, which when held up to the light provided lots of ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’ from the kids.

Watercolour Paintings

What you will need:

  • Homemade or purchased watercolours
  • Watercolour paper or a thick paper that can hold a small amount of water
  • Droppers
  • Straws
  • Oil
  • Tray for watercolours

Directions:

Begin by adding blobs of watercolours to your paper with the droppers. Using straws or by tipping the paper from side to side to move the water around. Alternatively drop a mixture of watercolours to create beautiful rainbows before adding drops of oil with a dropper.

The fun thing about this activity is the learning outcomes and final products will differ every time. It’s all about experimenting! What the children go on to do with their paper is another exciting adventure and one we’ll explore and share soon.

How would you use this paper to continue the artistic process?

Trust the Process…

Process based art and child led activities are a big interest of mine, I enjoy observing children’s creative processes as it tends to tell me a hell of a lot more than anything I plan for or control. So I’m steering away from the product based art and craft activities along with adult led play and learning activities in favour of experiences that invite children to have a voice and a  choice when it comes to play and creativity. How this will look will no doubt evolve and change over time and sometimes my adult input may be visible but the main aim is for the child to lead the way and for me to shut up a little more and just observe. I’m not lying, this is going to be hard!

Last week I decided to see what would happen when I placed some carefully selected craft items in front of the kids. In the past I would have selected these items with a final goal or product in mind and because of this the activity became highly adult driven. What I often found was the kids became bored, frustrated and annoyed that I was telling them what to do. So this time,although I still chose the items with a goal in my head I didn’t make it apparent to the kids.

I selected a range of green and yellow crafty pieces along with some egg carton pieces and imagined cute little turtles. Imagine how cute they would be!? So cute. BUT I kept my mouth shut, placed these items in front of the kids and watched (along with taking a million videos and photos!).


The  only time I spoke was to tell Master 1 not to paint his sister because she didn’t like it, as well as asking the odd question to encourage creative thinking and problem solving…

“How could you attach that?”

“What might that piece become?”

“What will you do next?”

In my mind I knew what I wanted those pom poms to be along with the best way to attach the pipe cleaners but it wasn’t for me to dictate or control!

It was interesting to note that initially Miss 4 wanted to make a turtle (hurrah!) but as she began to give the turtle hair (um… turtles don’t have hair, but okay!) by adding a pom pom she changed her mind and decided it looked more like an alien and as her approach changed she became incredibly excited by what she was making. Master 1 was just pleased to be making a mess but as I watched him a little closer I noticed how he was figuring out ways to keep the sequins on the carton as well as practising his fine motor skills by pulling off pieces of Blu(green?!)tack and rolling them into balls before flinging them on the ground. Imagine if I tried to take over!? I would have been met with tears, tantrums and paint in my hair…


Messy fun!

Placing our trust in children tells them that we value and respect their opinions and ideas and I really believe that this allows them to become more empowered, engaged and motivated learners. By continually dictating the ‘best’ way tells them that without our help they’re likely to fail and it’s this adult driven approach that may result in children becoming dependent, frustrated and worried individuals. So I think the big lesson here is that sometimes we just need to sit back a little more and trust that our little ones know what they’re doing (most of the time! Master 1 defintely shouldn’t eat the paint!) and as hard as it can be it’s often worth it for their response and the final result!

Little Alien (so much better than my cute turtle idea!)

I’m really pleased with this little experiment of mine. Not only did my preschooler come up with a rad little alien that is way cooler than any turtle I could make but it allowed me to really see what my children can do. If I continually held the paintbrush, stuck on the eyes and said things like “No…” and “You need to…” I wouldn’t have observed some amazing little successes that they figured out all on their own and now we have some truly lovely little green art pieces that proudly sit in our kitchen!

What do you think of Process based and child led activities?

Rain Clouds and Mindfulness 

A few weeks ago my daughter and I made rain clouds in a jar. An easy little experiment you can do with any child starting from preschool age really, and although it’s a fantastic way of exploring the science behind rain clouds and weather in general, we ended up going along an entirely different path from what I had planned in my mind the night before.

We naturally (somehow?!) gravitated towards mindfulness.

Once the excitement of spraying shaving cream everywhere (and I mean everywhere!) had subsided we took a moment to chat about what might happen once the food dye was added..

“It will explode!”

“Will it make the white clouds blue?”

“It will go down the bottom…”

I really tried to slow down the process of beginning and finishing this activity in the hopes we’d gain more from it… in a way it meant we weren’t controlled by it. There were no expectations and nothing needed to be achieved in order for it to be successful. I tried to help my daughter focus on what we were doing during that precise moment before focusing on what may happen in a few moments. We avoided the rush by really settling into the activity… We looked at what we had in front of us… we talked about what the ingredients and materials are used for… and we talked about what we hoped would happen. Building the anticipation is all a part of it but I was mindful of th fact that preschoolers are eager to get things moving and so, I took her cue and moved on as necessary.

We added a drop at a time and waited patiently… well… I did! To begin with we didn’t notice too much but again, without rushing I invited my daughter to take a moment to think about the clouds outside and what they do, what they look like and where they go. Before adding the next drop I asked her to close her eyes and imagine a rainy day…

“What does it look like?”

Drip.

“How do you feel?”

Drip.

“What can you hear…?”

Drip…

“Look!”

Little droplets of ‘rain’ were making their way down through the shaving cream clouds and after those few moments of calm we erupted into laughter and excitement about what we saw. It was finally raining and met with such joy and relief from my little one…

After adding more food dye we watched the swirls of blue glide around inside the jar and again it brought us back towards a state of calm. We were mesmerised by these watery snake like creatures swimming around in waves and figure eights. We didn’t say much. We just sat and watched. As adults we tend to sometimes talk AT our kids instead of WITH them. We can also be guilty of not really listening to what they have to say either. We tell them what to do, where to go and how to be. Sometimes what we really need to do is just shut up and give them the time and space they deserve as people. They are people remember? They’re just small. Watch and listen a little more. Take their lead and let them tell you something about their world.

So as the drips continued I too continued to watch my daughter. Silently she followed those thin blue lines as they dripped down in quick succession. She was exploring something new at her own pace and in her own way. In this moment I didn’t feel the need to explain the science behind what we were doing or ask any questions. A few days later when we read a book about weather I was able to refer back to this exact moment and that became the time to learn what was really going on. But in this silent moment I just enjoyed watching and listening. Listening and watching. I listened to her choice of vocabulary used to explain what she saw and I watched her reactions to the changes in the water… How her eyes darted from the bottom of the jar back up to the top so she could poke the shaving cream clouds with her finger in the hopes more blue would be released…
“The blue is dripping through the clouds Mummy!”

From here we engaged in a brief conversation about why that would be. Stopping myself I allowed her to explain her thinking…

“It drops down because the clouds aren’t strong. The rain is strong.”

Amazing.

We continued to silently watch the rain clouds until the water turned blue which led to my little one coming to the realisation that she was indeed very hungry and needed a second breakfast. We did the experiment a second time later in the day so her big sister could experience it too (and so I could take some photos!). Miss 4 explained in her own way what we were about to do and what would happen… a teacher in the making I’m sure!

Although I had planned this activity it was completely led by what I saw my daughter doing as well as what she was eager to take part in and therefore changed direction. If she wasn’t keen on imagining a rainy day or asking questions then I wouldn’t have pushed it. I also didn’t push my own agenda on her. What I had hoped would happen didn’t but that was okay. What we ended up experiencing and what I learnt from her were things I couldn’t plan for and that’s far more exciting and meaningful.

I think it’s important to add an element of calm and mindfulness to the lessons or activities we plan for our children. We don’t need to set aside an hour here or there in our teaching week, just a moment or two on a daily basis where we can slow down a little to help us all become more aware of who we are and what we’re doing, which is exactly what this activity taught me. I do realise this romantic idea of calming tones, taking deep breaths and being at one with ourselves can sometimes be hard to achieve or be met with rolling eyes in a classroom setting, but I think we owe it to ourselves and our students to find a way of making it work in our own way. We need to find that time.

I’m eager to explore other ways I can incorporate mindfulness into my day as a mother and teacher in order to help build stronger connections with small people in my life as well as to develop a better understanding of self…

How do you promote mindfulness amongst your children/students?

The Cute Classroom Conundrum

I love exploring teacher Instagram feeds. There are so many wonderful ideas for teaching and learning out there. The learning resources, lesson plans, behaviour management strategies…. so many purposeful, engaging and meaningful ideas that support and encourage learning and growth amongst students. But then there’s this cute side of the teaching world that confuses me a little.

Now I’m not being cynical or judgy (well, maybe a little!) but I’m just a little perplexed by some of it so hear me out. The cute classroom is definitely a thing these days. I know there has always been hype around having a theme for your classroom and decorating it accordingly but styling it with whatever is currently in fashion (rose gold staplers are a thing?!) seems new. These rooms have Kmart and Target decor spilling from the doorways along with every craft resource you can possibly think of organised ever so beautifully in sparkly containers that are carefully marked with printed and laminated labels.

Rewind back to my first couple of years as a squeaky clean new teacher and I had all the sparkly, bright, pom pom laden things so I do get the feeling of needing to have a beautiful, fun learning space. I spent silly amounts of money on cute pictures of cartoon animals, art supplies, and anything that was glittery. It felt good in the moment. I had classroom themes, sweet little cushions and all sorts of other crap that looked amazing to begin with yet as the year progressed it eventually lead to mess, stress and more work to try and keep it in order. Most of it served no educational purpose whatsoever but it made my room look cute. Cute was good. It made me happy and I loved doing it. Yes there was excitement amongst the kids but eventually it became old news, annoying or invisible. I once had this epic rocket that my Grade 3 and 4 students made out of boxes and foil for our numeracy corner. They loved it. It looked amazing,but then the tin foil was pulled off resulting in me getting grumpy because kids were rolling it into balls and flinging it across the room. Not cool guys. Not cool.

So in more recent months my thinking about how and why we decorate our rooms has shifted a little and I have questions about these cute classrooms… Many, many questions…

1. How do they stay so neat?

I know what kids are like. There would be snotty tissues, unclaimed school jumpers strewn across the floor and those craft containers would no longer own their original lids. That’s the reality. Of course I’d get the kids to help keep it nice but seriously, have you watched a bunch of Grade 5/6s clean? Not too crash hot in the art of tidying up! So I’m pretty sure these teachers are packing up their cute things on a daily basis to ensure it looks perfect for the following day aka ‘Instagram ready’. This is precious teacher time that could be used to mark some papers or eat a Mars Bar! Priorities!

2. Where do these resources come from? 

I’m pretty sure the school isn’t investing in meters of bunting and fake flowers. I know stores like Kmart and the like are ridiculously cheap but I saw someone who had about six giant Kmart kids’ cushions at $25 a pop! Whaaaaaat!? Our sad little teacher wage can’t afford that so how is this happening. Are people just not eating food for a fortnight in order to pay for their crafty habits and cushion obsessions?

3. Who has time to make and laminate that many displays and resources!? 

Don’t get me wrong, I love a good laminating session but some of these printables don’t seem very necessary. I’m not laminating a bunch of flowers that spell out the words ‘Reading Corner’, I’m just not! The kids know it’s the reading corner because I told them, it’s a corner and there are books there! No laminating required. So many of these displays do not really serve a purpose, and for the resources that do, I still wonder – are the kids actually looking at them or using them? How can they read it if it’s up near the ceiling!? Sure it all looks very bright and inviting but is it purposeful? Do these overly decorated rooms overwhelm the kids? They certainly freak me out!

4. Why are some teachers decorating their classroom without any regard for their students? 

“Okay kids the theme this term is ‘The Secret Garden’ because I just think it makes everything look so pretty and it was my favourite book when I was twelve.” Meanwhile the boys are rolling their eyes and the girls are giggling because the room looks like a fairy just vomited all over the place. To me the learning space is a shared space and it should therefore be a collaborative process to some degree. They are the learners so I think they have some right to say what they would like to have and we should listen. Setting everything up for the year the way you as the teacher like it doesn’t seem to show any regard for the kids but it’s okay because the room looks super cute. Right? Riiiiight?

And I’m sorry, but….

6. Why are people sticking pom poms on to pegs along with a whole range of other mind boggling decorations?! 

7. Why is there so much glitter on everything?!

8. How do people have time to change classroom themes EVERY SINGLE TERM?! 

What is happening here!? When are teachers planning lessons, assessing and managing their rooms with all of these extra, non educational craft projects going on!? As teachers we are already stressed, overworked and overwhelmed by the compulsory aspects of our schools and education departments so why are we spending so much time making beautiful things that no one really needs to have? I get that for many these extra crafty jobs bring joy but that’s usually in the moment, as the year goes on do these things just end up gathering dust before being thrown away? It certainly doesn’t bring joy when I just spent 2 hours covered in glue and glitter only to realise that I now need to moderate some writing for a further 2 hours.&nbsp

Having said all of this, if you think it’s worth it and makes a difference then there’s no problem, but take a minute to consider the following things….

Why do we want a cute classroom? 

Is it to enhance learning? Or to have our fellow colleagues green with envy? Is it to excite the kids? Or for ourselves? Is it to promote learning and student engagement? Or is it for teacher fame so we have more followers on Instagram?

I suppose we all decorate our learning spaces for some or all of these reasons and whether we want to believe it or not most of the time these cute things aren’t for anything remotely related to education. They just make things look nice. I’m not suggesting any of these reasons are bad or wrong but I guess what I’m wondering is what is it all for? I think you can still have a beautiful room without all the fluff and for your own sanity I think we can all agree that hot glue gunning a pom pom to a peg is a little silly. I want to ensure that the learning space I teach in has an element of excitement and wonder whilst still being educational and meaningful for the students using the space. I want to make sure everything the children are exposed to applies to the learning at hand. Cute is good, educational is better.

Where do you stand? 

Dear Square Peg

Dear Square Peg,

You never did fit into that round hole did you?
You sat (possibly wriggled!) in your spot and were made to feel like you were doing something wrong, when all you were really doing was being you.

Because… You’re a square.

You aren’t obnoxious, you’re just confident.
You aren’t vague, you’re just a dreamer.
You’re not odd, you just think a little differently.
You don’t have ADHD, you just need to move… All. The. Time.
You’re not difficult, you just like to manipulate (and possibly throw!) things to figure out how they work.

Because…
You’re a square.

You’re told over and over again that…
YOU need to sit still.
YOU need to calm down.
YOU are causing trouble.
YOU are being a nuisance.
YOU need to change.
YOU need to be… round.

But…
You’re a square.

You try. You really do, but it just doesn’t feel right.
It’s not you.
No matter how many times you turn yourself around you just don’t seem to fit.
It can be hard to fit into a world that…
Compares you.
Labels you.
Tests you…
Over and over again.
It feels like the world wants to make you round.

But…
You’re a square.

You tell yourself to be more round. Surely you can.
But, apparently…
You’re NOT quick enough.
You’re NOT smart enough.
You’re NOT successful enough.
You’re NOT motivated enough.
You’re NOT round enough.

Because…
You’re a square.

You have wonderful round friends.
They seem to make it in this world.
They fit.
They sit quietly.
They absorb information with ease.
They answer questions with enthusiasm and clarity.
They are the epitome of success.
They are beautifully round…

But…
You’re just a square.

Everyone wishes you were just a little more like them.
Things would be a whole lot easier if you were just like them.
Everything would be done the way it was ‘meant’ to be done if you were just like them.
Things would go to plan if you were… Just. Like. Them.
Just be like them.

But…
You’re a square.

And you know what?
That’s exactly who you should be.

So…
Be confident.
Dream.
Think differently.
Move! All. The. Time.
Be hands on.
Continue being you.

You may not always fit but you belong.

From,
Someone who gets you. x

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I’m not crazy. I’m a teacher.

First year out. You’re now in charge of educating young minds and you have convinced yourself that you will be the next John Keating in Dead Poet’s Society. You will inspire, challenge, engage and motivate our future. You will stand on tabletops and shout, “Seize the day!” This feeling is magical and deep down you are that person but as the reality of the day-to-day grind kicks in, as educational constraints, challenging behaviours and unimaginable exhaustion start to surface you realise that the teacher you so desperately want to be is rather difficult to sustain. You find yourself battling with a number of new teaching personalities.

Over the years, I have come to recognise a number of these interesting teacher personalities…

I’m currently Ms. Caffeine. Two coffees down and I’m furiously typing to finish this post. The final changes have been made to the Term 3 Art planner and ideas for an art show are pouring out of me like liquid gold. Ms. Caffeine is so bloody organised and perhaps a little OCD. Spreadsheets, endless notes, Pinterest boards and carefully labelled containers. Ms. Caffeine does however reach a point where so much of her has been consumed by the career she loves that she inevitably falls in a heap, drowning in a pool of her own tears… and coffee. Only chocolate can bring her back to a less erratic state – that is until the next flurry of ideas and responsibilities present themselves.

Ms Caffeine tends to be kind enough to make room for her more relaxed counterpart… Ms. Tranquil. She’s the one with the sing-song voice, who smiles with her eyes and uses calm and quiet tones. She inspires every child to do their best and finds the key to motivating those without confidence or direction. Ms. Tranquil really wants to learn guitar and play Cat Stevens songs in the hopes it will teach her students something magical about the world. I’d like to have her dotted throughout the day but I’m yet to work out how, which means there’s no ‘Oh captain, my captain’ moments happening in my classroom and so Ms. Tranquil seems to slip away a little after recess.

Enter Ms. Stone.

Unlike Ms. Tranquil she’s firm and will not put up with any nonsense. Those unique, cheeky students whose antics were endearing first thing in the morning aren’t quite as cute after 11am.  She doesn’t yell but her voice is raised, hands are placed carefully upon her hips and the tapping of her foot is always in perfect unison with the ticking hand upon the classroom clock. At times, I don’t mind her. When you need to get some papers marked or are required to break up a fight Ms. Stone is the woman to do it. Those pursed lips and her deep monotone voice send a scurry of feet back to their positions like regimented soldiers. But… “C’mon Ms. Stone. Lighten up a little, yeah? Learning is fun remember?”

The realisation that I’ve been a little harsh tends to kick in half an hour or so before lunch which is usually when Ms. Whimsy waltzes in. She’s playful, a little loud, excitable and over the top with everything. The other day she was amazed by the way a student mixed yellow and orange pastels together to create an interesting effect. “Wow Tabitha! That is fabulous! I really like what you have done to create light and shade there… Outstanding!” Seriously Ms. Whimsy. Just calm down a little will you? She usually disappears by lunch, which is when I tend to be in some sort of trance. Scoffing food down as swirling thoughts about what I have done, what I could have done better, what I desperately need to do in the next 5 minutes and… “Oh my God! I forgot to write out an award for assembly today!’ fill my already crammed brain to point of explosion.  

TICK… TICK… BOOM!

The dust settles just for a moment before Ms. Dragon appears, sending me into a fiery hot mess. I don’t like her much but she tends to storm in after I have managed to use up every last ounce of creativity, pulled out every trick from my extra-large teacher bag, or as a result of drinking too many coffees. She doesn’t inspire or bring any sort of joy. She’s just… cranky. Ms. Dragon does however remind me that I am only human and like my students, I have bad days too. She reminds me that anger is an emotion and it’s something we are allowed to feel but how we express it is something we need to be careful with because those young minds in front of us are impressionable. Like Ms. Dragon, all of my teacher personalities have developed and grown with me and aren’t something I should feel ashamed of or disappointed in. The teacher I wanted to be, the teacher I am, the teacher I will be in the future will always change and be different from what I expected…, and that’s okay. I must admit that I am keen to say goodbye to Ms. Dragon and this realisation came when Ms. Minimalist came to visit.

I’m still trying to figure Ms. Minimalist out and what she stands for. For now she’s a little scattered and confused but she’s motivated, excited and inspired by so many wonderful ideas that she knows she can make a difference somewhere. I like Ms. Minimalist so I’ll keep her close. I might need Ms. Caffeine to help me out a little though.

What are your teacher personalities?Some others that occasionally visit my classroom are:

  • Ms. LOL – she’s always joking with her students, she’s totes down with kid speak and pretends to know all the words to that popular song by that guy with the hair. Y’know the one.
  • Ms. Muscle – She can do anything. Lift a table, catch a spider, get a ball out of a tree. She has also been known to deal with poo and snot without engaging her gag reflex. She’s a superhero and the kids are amazed.
  • Ms. Frazzle – She’s disorganised, late and overwhelmed. She hasn’t done her hair, has dark circles under her eyes and forgot to fill out that important form. 

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The Last Word

Because I said so! 


As teachers we have all used our ‘power’ to get stuff done the way we want it done as opposed to the way the kids would like to have it done. We do this because we’re tired and can’t be bothered with the kerfuffle, we do this because we’re tired and have an endless list of teacher things to get on with or, we do this because we are just too tired! I get it, and in some cases this power may be necessary…

“Andrea*, you need to remove that stick from your left nostril. 

“Andrea, you need to take it out. 

Now. 

Andrea! Seriously.”

This is important in order to keep small (and the not so small!) humans alive. But I see you there. You have your lanyard ’round your neck and those keys are a jingling… They open all the doors. You have some power there my friend. It’s pretty nice isn’t it? My problem with this power is that it can creep into the classroom and school yard a little more than it should, in areas where it really shouldn’t.

This teacher power can appear any time we open our mouths. When we say hello, when we teach, when we see a kid jump in a puddle. It’s an automatic reflex. We’re looking for trouble and we’ll pounce like a hungry lion as soon as we see it. Sometimes we assume trouble is about to take place so we stomp all over that possible misdemeanour, because Alan* and Tina* were definitely/maybe trying to climb that tree and those things are dangerous!

On yard duty last week a student ‘dobbed’ on some girls who weren’t sharing the flying fox in the playground. It was outrageous. She expected that I would storm over there and give them a what for. Mind you, she wasn’t a part of the flying fox fiasco, she was merely a concerned school yard citizen who felt it was important to tell me the goings on in the Grade 3/4 playground. I thanked her for such concern, explained that for now I would watch them and hopefully they would find a way to sort it out. By making my way over there immediately would mean I didn’t give those girls an opportunity to solve anything for themselves. So I watched. No one was being violent. No one was being bullied. Everyone was alive. It was just a bunch of girls with hands on hips and lots of finger pointing. So I continued to observe. Eventually they saw me, turned to each other, chatted a little and then… they took turns. It may not have worked out that way but in this instance it did. I gave them space. I didn’t use my ‘power’ to tell them off. They are 8 years old and sometimes sharing is hard. Yelling, lecturing and using all the big words won’t necessarily get you the result you’re after, and it isn’t always teaching them much other than, if you yell people might stop for a bit.


In the classroom we love to talk and sometimes we have a habit of saying the same things in a variety of ways. Often we repeat these things because there is always that one kid who just doesn’t listen to anything you say.

“Jim*, what did I just say!?”

Frustrating I know.

But if that’s the case, why say it ten times for them to still not hear it? Other times we just talk because we like to hear ourselves say impressive words. Or is that just me!?

Make your point. Explain as needed. Invite discussion. Listen!

I’ve been very guilty of talking too much and during my first two weeks back this year I have made a conscience effort to talk less and listen more. This doesn’t mean I am being a lazy teacher, if anything there’s more teaching taking place. It enables me to observe students and support them in the moment.

Last week as my grade 1/2 students explored the concept of measurement using informal units I noticed a few boys playing with the tape measures. One was trying to use it as a skipping rope, another was trying to whip his friend with it. In the past I would have said:

“Hey boys! Stop that! Give them here.” 

But on this day I didn’t. Instead I said:

“Hey boys! What are you measuring?” 

That change in me led to something wonderful. It shifted from what appeared to be a ‘naughty’ episode into an amazing teaching and learning experience. We measured how tall we were. We discussed the numbers we saw. I explained centimetres and inches. We discovered that a tape measure can be used to measure the circumference of our head. We used the word circumference! We worked out who was taller and the difference between our measurements. A-mah-zing!

I know none of this is ground breaking. We all know we should be doing these things but sometimes we forget or it gets lost along the way. By making a conscience effort as much as we can to really stop and change our approach or direction can lead to some wonderful teaching moments. By ignoring my initial response to a problem and taking a few seconds to think about how I could say it differently, led to something I hadn’t planned for. For those students, it made them feel special. I was giving them my time. I was listening. I wasn’t stomping all over their discovery. They stood up with pride at the end of the lesson and explained to the class what they had learnt. I didn’t interrupt. I didn’t reword their explanation. I let them enjoy their moment and share their experience. It was really quite lovely.

So let’s all listen a little more. These humans we teach are still relatively new to the world and they’re looking to us for guidance. Getting the last word in doesn’t mean you won anything, it probably just means you’re not really listening.

* Names have been changed.