I’ve been thinking a lot about finding time in the day to “give” to my learners — time for them to make and invent, time to think creatively and critically, time to think about possibility, to experience joy, energy, challenge, freedom, and agency. It’s not so easy to find, but I just kept thinking and wondering.
I noticed I sometimes have small pockets of time in morning meeting. Not a lot of time for sure — maybe 5 minutes — but I thought I’d see what we could do in that time.
I searched around for LEGO bricks in the classroom, and found quite a few. I took out most of the pieces that suggested any thing in particular (trees, people, wheels). I hoped by doing that to have the creation be more open to possibility, and the imagination of each maker, and less led by the ideas of the LEGO makers. I found a basket that made it easy to send the bricks around our morning meeting circle, and eagerly anticipated our work together!
By the way, we hadn’t used our LEGO bricks in some time, so they were in a need of a wash. I loaded them in a mesh bag, and washed them on the top shelf of my dishwasher on a cool setting. Worked great! Thanks to all the people who posted things online about ways to wash them.
The first two times we gave it a try, we worked together to create one structure. We each picked a lego, and added it to the structure as we passed it around our morning meeting circle. Here’s our first creation.
Sometimes the girls were quiet, watching each other add their brick. Other times they kibitzed about where to put the brick, or shared with a neighbor what it might be.
When we finished creating the structure I placed it — with a pencil — next to a clipboard reading “Our morning meeting invention might be … ”
Over the next few days, the girls continued to think about what the structure might be — not what it is, but what it might be — and when they had a moment, they added their ideas to our lists.
The girls loved creating together, and writing their ideas one the lists. In the process we all got to practice and grow in many ways. We
- used our imagination.
- thought creatively and critically.
- were open to possibilities.
- were flexible when our friends accidentally knocked a piece off, and replaced it in a different spot.
- acted as individuals, and as a team.
- practiced handwriting, and encoding our thoughts into words so others could read them.
- were resourceful — figuring out how to create something with a small set of bricks.
- worked on our communication skills — as we created, as we talked about the creations later on, and as we shared our ideas.
- enjoyed each other and the process.
It may seem like there is no time in your day to allow your students to invent, create, make, think, dream, imagine, wonder, and enjoy. Don’t believe that. Be open and observant. When you notice a moment or two in your day, give it to your students, and yourself, as moments of possibility.
Often times this is my mantra: “Small moments. Small creations. Big impact.”
Give it a go. Grab the moment! Your students, and you, deserve it.
By the way …
If you find a moment and do something, leave me a comment, I’d love to hear what you did, and how it went.
If you find a moment and have no idea what to do, ask a colleague, or leave me a comment. I’d be happy to brainstorm some ideas.
if you look at your schedule and say “Molly does NOT know what she is talking about. My day is packed, and there is NO WAY I can do one more thing!” leave me a comment. Maybe we can look at your day together and find some time.