Communities P.2: Building

My students never cease to amaze me.  Despite the fact that all of their instruction is in their second language, they do an excellent job of getting their higher level observations across without depending on our co-teacher for translation.  Because of their enthusiasm, I have found it hard to choose which part of the inquiry cycle I love the most.  They are always just so eager to explore and think of new ideas.

Watching them build their communities was such a pleasure for me.  I thought, with it being their first group project, it was going to be chaos, but they were so serious about their task.  Once they realized I wasn’t playing when I told them they could do whatever they want, it was like I didn’t even exist.

Actually, no.  I did exist.  But to them, I was only a supply lady.

“We need more boxes.”

“Can you cut this box with the big scissors? Right here.  Like this.”

“I need more tape.”

“Where is the other color paper?”

“Hold this down while I wrap this box.”

Zeesh. Bossy learners.  I loved that they weren’t asking me how or if.  They just did it. It gave me a chance to walk around and ask them questions about what they were building, why they added this, how did they make that.  I didn’t give them any ideas, just a lot of encouragement when things didn’t go right.  And sometimes, when they had problems, like when one student said, “Our stoplight won’t stand up!”, I got to use my other favorite phrase:

Figure it out.

And they did.

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In the end, some of their plans were well laid out and you could see where they were going, while other times they struggled to work together. All three groups came up with some interesting things that really show how they see their environment and what they see as important.

When I asked the city group why the glue stick box was the only building not covered, they said, “It’s a glue stick factory!”  I said, “Oh! Is that the smoke on top?”  I figured it wasn’t pertinent to educate them on the relationship between horses and glue factories at that moment.

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Some of their work was just downright adorable.

They were so focused on their work they would be upset when we had to break for lunch and other classes.  In the morning they walked in instantly looking at the daily schedule and asking “When is inquiry?”  During lessons, they would continue to ask “Is it inquiry time yet?”  They were so proud of their work, and I was proud of them.

Sitting next to the city group while they were building one day, one of the girls by me sat back away from their creation, looked at me and said,

“It’s SO beautiful!”

 

Published by brianalennet

Visual anthropologist and digital storyteller

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