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A Roof Over Her Head

September 22, 2009


The other morning, this student began working alone with the connecting blocks in one corner of our classroom.  As I made my usual rounds, talking with students about their work, I glanced over and noticed that she was still hard at work, 10 minutes later.  Not having seen her this focused yet, I decided to inquire more about her building.  When I approached her, she was looking for a dog to stand next to the girl-toy she found.  It was clear by her remarks that she was building a structure to surround them.

“Now I’m going to put the blue roof; the roof keeps falling down.”

[One of the supporting walls is shorter than the other, and is unable to hold up the roof.  After several minutes of repetitive trying, she replaces the shorter block with a longer one.

Another student: “What are you doing here?”

“I’m trying to build a house.”

“I can do it, too?”

She said, “No, I don’t need help.”

[She continues to extend the roof across the top, and this time it stays up.  She adds a few more pieces, but then takes the whole thing apart and puts the blocks away.]

I watched herstruggle with the roof; surely she could’ve used an extra set of hands for help.  I wondered why she refused her close friend’s help.  Perhaps I should’ve encouraged her to allow her to join her, but I’ve devoted these first few weeks of school to listening and observing, noticing how each student communicates and plays.  As it turns out, she was completely capable of reaching her goal on her own, and reveled in her success.

For me, this was a lesson in the competency of children to set their own goals and work towards them.  Her readiness to put the blocks away almost immediately after she finished makes me think that in this particular case, her satisfaction came not from the finished product, but instead from the process it took to get there.

One Comment leave one →
  1. July 16, 2013 7:54 am

    Really?! I still am taken aback that this keeps happening these days. I am very happy I was sitting down for this. We need to know for the future. Lets keep an eye on the issue moving forward.

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