Our project today was to make a snow man or snow woman to decorate our student work wall. The snow person will also serve as a topic for a creative writing assignment next week. The instructions for making the snow people were easy.
1) Have Fun
2) No scissors when making the body of the snow person.
3) No pencils to outline
4) No second chances - you only get one piece of paper - make it work
Essentially, the kids were to rip 3 different sized circles (by hand - no outline), piece them together and then decorate the snowperson and give it some personality.
Here is what happened:
My academically high kids were sent into HIGH STRESS mode. Kids who never even think twice about defying me were caught trying to either sneak pencils or scissors when they thought I wasn't looking. They were seriously arguing with me and trying to convince me that they needed the appropriate tools to complete this task. They bitched at me the whole time.
My academically low kids were amazingly skilled in this area. They didn't once quetion what I said. They also didn't need any extra directions as did the high kids. They saw the task at hand and set right out to work. They were in fact quite happy and when they were done went over to the high kids to help them out.
The snow people made by the low kids were the best constructed and the cutest.
The ones constructed by the high kids were not as good.
I see this happen every single year. I am always amazed at how stressed the high kids get and how at ease and confident the low kids are.
What does it tell me?
I need to remember to play to the strengths of all of the kids in the class more often. It was very good for the low kids to be helpers to the high kids. It was good for the high kids to see that they can get good assistance from the low kids. They need to see that they all have talents that make them special and that they are able to contribute to the good of our class.