As the students sat in their morning meeting with the teacher, Bishop discussed his excitement about making his own Skylanders. “What would that look like? What materials would you use?” the teacher asked him.
He thought for a moment, and then went to look for materials.
Learning is a series of connections, so if we don’t apply instruction to something that a child can connect to, retention is less likely to occur. We believe in embracing a child’s interest and allow them to explore will enhance the potential of future understanding because the learning has occurred in a natural way.
Bishop came back in with Model Magic and began crafting his vision. He sat there quietly for 30 minutes kneaded and molding. As his creations began to take shapes, other children came over. His excitement sparked an interest in others.
The design began to grow. A house began to evolve with all the comforts of home like this TV. Its amazing how children make sense of their reality through pretend play.
Bishop then created his representations of his Skylanders. Above is a picture of Hot Dog and below is IBrawl.
He beamed with pride as his teacher began to talk to him about his creation. He told his teacher, “This is Hotdog and this is IBrawl.” The teacher asked him to tell her about the circle. He responded, “Its a house, but I have to get more play dough to make the roof.”
“Why did you build a house for your Skylanders?” the teacher continued to ask.
“Because they need a place to eat and sleep,” he said.
“If they didn’t have a house they wouldn’t be able to eat or sleep,” Bishop continued. “And they wouldn’t be able to fight,” added Sean. “And they would be out on the streets,”Bishop said with finality. “What does the house have to do with all of those things?” the teacher asked. “Well if they can’t sleep or eat, they will die, and we need them to be alive to fight the bad guys.”
So they continued to work on their project until they were pleased with the final look.
Because the teacher allowed Bishop and his friends to connect what they loved to a meaningful concept, they were able to apply a state standard to toys. They understand that all living organisms need food, shelter, and must reproduce. If we give children the freedom and means to pursue their own interest, they bloom and develop along diverse and unpredictable paths and acquire the skill and confidence required to met life’s challenges.
As we work on projects through out the year, topics are touched on over and over again, in different ways and through different subjects and mediums. The needs of living organisms has been something we have studied through many projects, and it was a proud moment to see him consider these needs as he built a home for skylanders.
The children are now using the subject of Skylanders to write books, draw pictures, create maps, and describe characters. When children are interested in subjects the possibilities are endless. They are more engaged, productive, and excited about the work they are doing in class.