Wednesday, August 27, 2014

What were you trying to do? Listening in to kids think while they're creating something new

I talk to kids all the time in my math and making classrooms about what they are doing, the choices they're making and why. But for some strange reason it never occurred to me to record these conversations...until recently. Discovering a voice recorder on my iPhone has spurred me toward documentation in a big way.  Here are my first two recorded conversations, both around a Weaving Algorithms session I did with some 4th graders today:

4th grader: I’m trying to get to not do the same pattern twice.
Me: So not even the same color pattern? There’s like random colors across the top [the warp]...? And what did you do the weft [weaving across] part?
4th grader: I had one continuous pattern. I did yellow, orange, red, purple, blue because they were connected in the color wheel and then I did green, and the other shade of green and then the other blue…
Me: …and then you started again.
4th grader: …and I tried not to make the same weave pattern…I tried not to make that touch two other things from the same color but this touched like three yellows.

All I've got to say for this one is: It takes a LOT of thinking to create an intentionally random design or pattern. I'm impressed!

Here's a conversation about a weaving design on the completely opposite side of random:

Me: Can you tell me why you’ve got your calculator out?
4th grader: I was trying to figure out how many castle wall patterns…
Me: Can you tell me the numbers of the castle wall patterns?
4th grader: 26 which would probably be 13 on the bottom…
Me: Okay, the orange ones?
4th grader: 13 orange ones and 13 blue ones?
Me: And you call them castle wall patterns because…
4th grader: Because they kinda look like castle walls…
Me: Like the turrets. Okay, cool! Anything else?
4th grader: The pattern was over over, under under, over over, under under...
Me: So there was an orange and a blue that went over over and you took another orange and blue pair and went under under…nice!

I've got many new thoughts about how to use the voice recorder to help me talk and listen to kids. For now, though, it's very clear that in the noisy rush of large noisy classroom it is too easy for me to rush kids or inadvertently cut them off.

Here are a few other lovely designs from the day:



1 comment:

  1. Your weaving pattern pictures are awesome! Please post more in the future.


Thanks for reading. I would love to hear your thoughts and comments!


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