I have unshakable faith in children. They always show me the way. ♥

Sunday, November 18, 2007

the Alejandro train... [part 1]

I am totally riding the Alejandro train right now.

My husband knows this. In fact, he generally hears all of this first. Then third, ninth, eleventh, seventeenth, and so on... (poor man hears stories more times than probably anyone should)

I get on various "trains" when I'm just amazed, inspired, or intrigued by something one of my students does. Sometimes this fascination lasts a day and sometimes a lot longer. Naturally, I'm fascinated by all of my students, but sometimes I learn something from one of them that really sticks with me.

Here is what Alejandro has taught me, probably more than any student I've worked with in years:

Children understand and think in concepts, even if they don't have the vocabulary to describe it. If they don't have the language, chances are they'll make up their own language to do so.

Now, this probably isn't really a new thought to any teacher, but I've been shown this in a very profound way recently.

Two weeks ago, we started talking about the idea of the Past and the Present. The very next day, during Morning Meeting sharing, another student finished his share and asked for questions and comments. Alejandro raised his hand and asked:

"Was that in the past or in the present?"

I made a strangled noise of glee because of the turnaround on those words and the fact that he was using them correctly. Throughout the next two days I watched Alejandro talk and share and ask questions and I realized that he had been thinking in those concepts for a long time -- they made sense to him. He just hadn't had the language to describe them. I imagine for him when we finally started talking about this, he thought:

Dude. Thank you. I have been waiting for these words! What took you so long?

I have more to say about him, but I'll save it for a few days and keep you all on tenterhooks.

Have a lovely Sunday. ♥

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