Last summer, Kristi Keery-Bishop offered up a blogging challenge: #5days5words. I was one of a few different educators that joined in. Finding the motivation to blog in the summer can be a challenge, so this was a good push. And it was fun! Last night, there was some conversation on Twitter about trying this challenge again, and today, Lisa Corbett published her first blog post. While summer camp started today and I may be beyond exhausted, I also feel inspired to blog. I’m not sure that I can commit to five days in a row in the midst of camp, but I will definitely commit to five days over the next month. Being the educational troublemaker that I am, I’m going to break more of the rules before we even begin. 🙂 Instead of five individual words, I’ve decided to create five questions. My first one is what’s the worst that can happen?
Paula used to ask me this question a lot, especially when we started working together three years ago. Everything worried me. I remember when she first suggested a self-serve paint station. You mean that you want the kids to pump their own paint? How much paint will get on the floor? How much paint will be wasted?
For Paula, this was a case of, “what’s the worst that can happen?”
- If the paint gets on the floor, have the kids clean it up.
- If the kids create too much paint, have them think of different ways to use it.
Paint was only part of our discussion. What about when the children climbed to reach higher spaces indoors or climbed as part of our outdoor play?
- Do we need to consider why kids are climbing in the first place, and how to support independence and safety in these spaces? Is the safety concern with us or with them?
There were also the (many) times that we put out materials with the thought of using them in one way, and children chose to use them in another. Or they moved these materials around the classroom to use in creative ways. But our plan was not to put them there!
- Whose the plan for though?
Maybe what caused me the most stress was Wormville. I love worms, but not when they’re crawling on tables and staying in the classroom (unsupervised) overnight. Both the children and Paula helped me breathe through both of these concerns of mine by getting to the root of the problem, but also looking at the value of the learning.
At many times, in many different grades, children surprise us with their thinking and their intentions. Sometimes these surprises are welcome, and sometimes they terrify us. I know at many times, I’ve just wanted children to follow my plan. Am I scared of the unknown? Do I want and need control? Maybe so, but now I’m also very tempted to ask, “What’s the worst that can happen?” I keep thinking about Lisa’s plan to say, “Yes.” Doing so, often pleasantly surprises me. What about you?
That’s a great way to look at it! I often have to remind myself of this exact concept.It’s a very self-reg way of looking at things too. If paint spills, don’t panic, just clean it up. If you get too much paint, come up with another project. It’s a great way to help kids develop resiliency!
Thanks Lisa! I love how you made the connection to Self-Reg. There is definitely this overlap. This isn’t always easy to do, but it is valuable. I think having two adults in the classroom who can support each other with these difficult decisions can also help.