Sorting Silver, Gold and Other Things

This blogpost is reposted from Our Journey, a blog tracking the progress we are making in ExcELL, a new course made possible by the Partner-Teacher program. Want to know more about what is going on? Visit us.

If you click the link above, you’ll see an example of a ThingLink. If you can’t understand the words, we were sorting. Students could choose how. One of these says, “This is rock.” Another says, “This is bead.” Here’s another one that is a little easier to understand. And one more, in case that wasn’t enough…

To the uninitiated, this may not sound like much. But you try saying it in a language that you don’t know. I bet you’d struggle.

How awesome is it that a student who really can’t say much in English walks up to me with beads in his hand and says, “Ms. Evans. What?”

That is some serious communication.

We had a volunteer in today who wanted to know a lot of why. Why did we give so many things to sort? It seemed overwhelming. Why did we not tell them how to sort? Why are we not giving directions? And all I could say is that this was time for us to learn.

Observations can teach us a lot of things.

We asked them to work in groups. Whether they chose to do that or not gave us information.

There were conversations that happened. We weren’t necessarily there to see them, but these conversations, this communication is vital to our students moving forward. It’s messy, and it’s meant to be that way.

In the Responsive Classroom approach, whenever you introduce new stuff, you have to give time to play. And there was play. Our artist in the room started spelling his name out with buttons. Then he started playing a game like jacks with the stones. It was poetry. It showed that he sees these things as tools. Another student recognized how beautiful they were. I wonder what would happen if we gave her the tools to make earrings and necklaces.

We plan to do some more organized sorting later.

But until then, let’s just enjoy the creativity and watch genius at work.

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