I loved watching this cooperative problem-solving unfold. At quick glance, one might think that the children are practicing ABC's through a puzzle--and that would be true.. But look more closely and you will also see cooperative problem-solving,. It truly took this whole group to get the puzzle done.
This is what I observed:
1. Children practiced letter recognition. None of the children, it seemed, knew all of the letters. But they put their knowledge together and learned from one another.
2. Children practiced alphabetical order skills.
3. Children listened to each other and worked together to problem-solve. They tried different methods for how to find the next letter/piece. Some worked, and some did not. In the beginning, they were focused on what letter comes next. They figured out how to determine the next letter--"let's sing it," Callum suggested. At one point, Lucas shortened the task by suggesting they start at "L" instead of going all the way back to "A." They often got ahead of themselves when singing, and seemed to discover that saying the letters worked better. Near the end, with fewer pieces, the task shifted and became about the puzzle--which pieces fit together.
4. Kind cooperation; "Thank you!" "Good job!"
5. Notice Teo holding the "T" (of course, his name starts with T so he knows this letter well). He held on to this piece throughout and knew the exact time to slip it in, after "S." He quietly waited for that moment of expertise.
6. Focus and perseverance: the children were extremely focused and didn't give up when they ran into mistakes. Lucas tried, without success, to talk the group into "taking a pause" for snack. But they were focused and wouldn't pause even for muffins and apples!
7. Playfulness: this learning moment happened in the middle of playtime. The children were happily completing the task and it was their choice to do so. No frustration, tears, "I don't know," or "I can't do it." Just a group of friends happily learning together.
After observing an increased interest in block play, I recently re-arranged our classroom to include a larger and more free block area. My hope was to provide the children with more freedom to explore the blocks within the context of building for the pure sake of building. Our block corner had been used for blocks and/or animals, cars, doll houses, etc. This new larger area, free from the distraction of the other elements, has allowed for creative and imaginative structures to erect day after day.
5 day teacher