Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The Ingenuity of Children

One of my favorite things about setting up provocations is that I'm never quite sure where they will go. I have my own ideas and thoughts about how a provocation might be used, but rarely do children follow exactly what I think they will do. One of the transitions I set up this week was a simple one: markers and a clear piece of plastic. I thought the children may draw on it and notice how the light can reflect through the marker when you lift up the plastic piece. I assumed they might work on their burgeoning writing skills and talk to each other about the various letters they can write. However, neither of these things happened- at least not really.
They did draw upon the plastic, but what they did with those drawings was much more interesting than anything I could have thought of! As TUS and EF started to fill the plastic with blocks of color, CE started to try to layer the color from her marker on top of their color blocks. It didn't layer, though! Instead... it erased it! CE started to feel frustrated, "It's not coloring!" She laid her pen down and crossed her arms. TUS observed closely for a second then said, "WAIT! That's actually really cool! It's like an eraser!" EF shouted, intoxicated by TUS's excitement, "Yeah! It's an eraser! I want to do that, too!"

Soon LC, TUS, CE, and EF were all busily making color blocks then using other colors to erase them. They practiced lots of different combinations as they worked. LC noticed, "Blue erases orange! But not red!" EF found out, "I can't erase green with green!" TUS said, "There's two sides to the marker! With this one you can make big erasing and with this one you can make little erasing."

After a while, each of the four moved on to other provocations and materials. CW, HR, and VM had been watching the intense work going on at the table and they immediately sat down as those children left. Each worked quietly in their own space, drawing with one color then attempting to erase with other colors. It was interesting to watch how they had soaked up what was happening at the table before they were there and were testing it out for themselves! I'm excited to continue to see how the children build on each other's work over the next few weeks! 

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