Notice Small Things

“They world is full of ordinary moments, and when noticed they become special.” Ruth Ayers

The other day — well actually it was months ago, but saying the other day soothes my heart. I miss my Kindergartners! So please, join me in imagining that it was just the other day that I was with them, rather than nearly two months ago.

The other day, in my Kindergarten classroom, the girls were dismantling their Lego creations. I couldn’t find the tools Lego makes to take the bricks apart. Even if I could find them we hadn’t made the creations on the Lego plates, so the tools wouldn’t have been that helpful. So, instead of the tools, I gave suggestions of ways to get the bricks apart, and lent my fingers when their fingers reached a snag.

Out of the corner of my eye I noticed one of my girls working with incredible focus and intensity. She was getting her blocks apart like a champ! I wandered over for a closer look, and noticed she had created her own tool. She didn’t ask for help. She problem solved all by herself!

She was using a paperclip as her handmade tool!

I immediately abandoned any thought of the pre-made tools, and began sending everyone who asked for help to this sweet and ingenious girl. Each time I did, I said, “C figured out a way to make a handmade tool. Go ask her to teach you.” And, each time I sent a girl her way, she humbly and quietly showed them what to do.

Day two of Lego dismantling began with requests for paperclips. I recalled the one C had used the day before was small and silver, so I quickly found the small silver ones and handed them out. They didn’t work. I thought perhaps C had opened them the blocks a bit before she used the paperclip, so I suggested trying that.

From across the room, C noticed me out of the corner of her eye. She came over and said “They aren’t the right paperclips, Ms. James.” To which I responded, “They’re not? I thought you had the small silver ones.” To which C replied, with incredible patience and complete confidence. “Yeah, but not those.”

I think perhaps at that point I laughed. “Not these?”

‘No” C said, as she took the container from my hands.

She moved the paperclips around, clearly looking for something specific. I still wasn’t sure what she was searching for. Then I saw it! The day before I had borrowed several paperclips from a colleague. They were thinner than the silver ones we typically used, and they had tiny lines on them.

“See, Ms. James. These are the ones that work!” C said with a smile. “Oh my GOSH!” I replied. “I didn’t notice that, C. Thanks so much for showing me.”

Small things. They really are important. I’m glad I noticed C’s creativity and ingenuity, but if she hadn’t noticed the small things about her tool — the things I had overlooked — my noticing would have been much less.

She taught me a great lesson about being in the moment, present, observant, and focused. I love C and all my girls. They never cease to amaze me.

8 thoughts on “Notice Small Things

  1. This post brings to mind the saying, โ€œNecessity is the mother of invention.โ€ C certainly demonstrated that concept! I had no idea that there was a Lego tool for separating Legos. That is news to me. Plus, you are still in school with students? Inquiring minds are wondering. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  2. A PAPERCLIP – A specific PAPERCLIP can solve a Lego problem. What Kindergarten teaches us is that by looking at small things – we just might solve some bigger, tougher, world problems. At least that is my hope every night as I lay my head down on my pillow!

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    • Ah! What a great take away. Looking at small things, with mind of a beginner – open, willing to learn — and with the motivation and possibility found in hope … YES!!! Superb. ๐Ÿ˜€

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  3. It would be cool to ask the kids to figure out why some clips worked and some didn’t and to test if it was just the size of the wire or if the little lines had anything to do with it.

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  4. Ahhh, a moment from your classroom! Thank you for writing this scene, for opening your doors from just the other day. It feels so good to feel like Iโ€™m there, in an ordinarily fabulous small moment. Thanks for writing. Thanks for sharing!
    Ruth

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