"Look at that stupid board. I hate it."
Fireworks went off in my head. It happens for me often when children call each other stupid, or mock the way someone says something. It is my natural reaction. I feel so frustrated!! This is my cue to not react.
"I wonder if you mean, 'I'm curious about what you built, B.' What I know about you, E, is you love building and figuring things out. Let's go look closer." We walked over together. B had stepped back. E knocked over the board.
"Oh wait! Remember, I won't let you knock down someone's work. They're using it! Let's try again. What I know about B is he loves building. I wonder what his idea is." I place the board where B had placed it then stepped back. b was watching too. E placed a small red object at the top of the ramp.
"It's going to go down the slide!"
"Oh cool!" I said. Then we were both puzzled when the object didn't move. B stepped forward to take a closer look. Soon, S was curious too! E tried another object, this time a small block. It also didn't move.
The thee continue their explorations as I step back. This potentially negative situation has become an exploration in physics. It is also a firm reminder to me that sometimes "stupid" is an opportunity to connect. That children are constantly testing out the world around them, especially how they effect each other. They want it to work! And I get to help them find that natural path.