For the next couple of weeks, the plan for this blog will be the following activities (links to the videos and blogs to come): Building lego sets step by step, doing puzzles, and building a hydraulic cardboard front loader.
Here is why:
One of my great daily run ins as a teacher was students coming up because they were stuck on a problem.
Some people get stuck because they are climbing mountains. That is legit. Cool. Let me help you.
Since I am a burnout and teacher failure, I will readily confess I got irritated at the SOME people, who get stuck because there is a pebble in their path.
High school students are multitasking and developing at a crazy pace. They have so much thrown at them with multiple subjects, jobs, extracurriculars, and pressures to get scholarships/into colleges. With that said, students in high school are enabled, if not encouraged to be just playing the system. They are not encouraged to learn, be curious, and investigate. They do not know how to climb the cognitive mountains I wished for them. There is not time for that. Students zombie through with the mentality- “Just tell me how to do it”, “Tell me what is on the test”, “Just show me the A’s.”
Rocks hold them up. Mountains, out of the question.
Disclaimer: I have been out of the high school setting for 4 years now… Some schools and many greater teachers than I have figured it out. This is just my experience. I also have very dear memories of some students that were really curious. They had a part in “playing school,” but somehow their purpose to learn and explore had not been killed in the system. I smile right now thinking of them.
Anyway, I could go on with my ranting, but that is not the point for me here today. I have just some ideas with what I am doing with my 3.5 year old to encourage the curiosity and exploration. I believe it starts with ingraining some grit in him through fun, exploratory activities that give him the feeling of success and “Wow. Look what I have done” as a reward.
Puzzles, legos, and other curious building projects is what I believe can build that mountain climbing enthusiasm, at least for now.
My now 3.5 year old has blown me away since he was only about 2.5 years old with puzzles. He is a pretty energetic guy, border line wild, sometimes completely out of control. But, man could he focus on and complete puzzles. I have some favorite puzzles we will take video of soon.
Recently, he has blown me away with legos. He also focuses and can play legos for hours. Lately though, I gave him the instructions to a set, and he amazed me by going step by step (with some supervision) to completion. The video below catches this. Maybe other kids can see Abe do this and get excited too. Maybe parents can see him do this, and realize their young ones can too. Like I said, I was blown away with what he was capable of. Sometimes, I think we have to hand them the projects, and just shut up. Let them do, because at this early age, they are programmed to be free and take on the mountains. They tackle the unknowns. When they see their successes, hopefully they will just get hungry for more!
Disclaimer: I am still working on my video taking and editing skills. I hope they will get more fun for other kids to watch, so that they can maybe mimic and catch on to the great things I catch on video of Abe.