What Listening Looks Like
During the first nutrition break today, the primary students had choir practice. I only have a small number of students that don’t go to choir, so they stayed back to eat their lunch and chat. I was doing a little work in the room while they were eating, and I happened to overhear their conversation.
They were trying to arrange a game to play together during recess time. Two of the boys asked the other six to participate, and four out of the six of them decided that they wanted to play. The two boys were trying to figure out how many people were playing. They started by counting the boys that wanted to play, but they thought that they missed someone. They kept on getting “six” as their answer though. Just as one of the boys was going to count again, the other boy jumped in and said, “You don’t need to count again! Six is the right answer. There are eight of us, and two of us don’t want to play. Eight take away two is six, and you counted six. You’re right!”
I had to commit this exchange to memory because I thought to myself, wow! During a random lunch discussion, these students saw the value of math. This made me think a lot about formative assessment, and the power of observation. It’s amazing what we can see and hear when we take the time to do both. I’m glad that I was in class during this lunch discussion today. After hearing this conversation, it reminded me that I need to take the time to listen more. What might I be missing if I don’t?
How has “listening” benefited you as a teacher? I’d love to hear your stories too!
This reminds me of three boys I had one year in second grade. All were interested in the Loch Ness Monster and seeing him. I found a live cam for them and they were so excited. They entered the URL and stared at a dark screen. They came to the conclusion there was a problem with the camera. The next day the result was the same. The conversation was much along the same lines but one began to look at the large world map on the wall. They then migrated to the map and started looking at where Scotland was located in relationship to Hawaii. After seeing the span of two oceans and a large landmass they noticed the clocks that ran across the bottom of the map. They got a clipboard, paper & pencil and after some false starts figured out there was a twelve hour time difference between Hawaii and Scotland. The new plan was to go online at home before going to bed and see the monster. The boys did see the Loch Ness but the monster continued to hide from them.
If I had interceded the real learning would have been lost. As a listener I gained real incite into how these boys thought, processed information, and problem solved.
Thanks JoAnn! What a great story! Isn’t it amazing what happens when we just sit back and listen?!?! I’m so glad that you shared this with me.