Tinkering School

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Farm-in-the-Blank Wednesday!

Spring Break 2017Lindsay JonesComment

A part of tinkering that we think is really important is taking time to stop, breathe and think about what you have accomplished, how you accomplished it, and then how you feel about that.  We try to incorporate different kinds of reflection through out all of our programs. We reflect as a group on why our plan worked here, but not over there. We reflect with our partner on how we assembled this section, before we move on to that section. We reflect as a whole group on ways to collaborate. We reflect with ourselves on how we handled a mistake in building or a mistake we made talking to a new friend.

This afternoon we got out the crayons and paper to have a few minutes of silence to draw or write about a moment we tried really hard to do something.  

This gives kids that are shy a chance to reflect on their day without having to speak in front of an audience.

A few minutes doodling with a crayon evens the drawing field, so that kids and adults that feel their drawing skills should be better, have an opportunity to look around and see that they can convey their ideas through shapes too.

Some tinkerers find that words are the best way to convey their ideas and they have a few moments to take the memories and feeling of their experiences that day and commit them to paper and their long term memory banks.

Often tinkerers will augment their drawing with a few words, or their sentences with a brief illustration.

Usually one or two kids will announce, after they hear the prompt, that they can't think of anything that happened to them that day.  With focused silence around them, they will begin to doodle, usually a picture of the project they've been working on.

I've watched memories of exciting, hard, hilarious, satisfying and disappointing moments jump into a child's mind as they draw piece by piece what they built piece by piece earlier that day. It's like they get to do it over again and they have a few minutes to think "Yeah. That was perfect." and beaming with pride, tell the whole group what happened. Or they think, "Oooooh our plan failed! But....what if we just take that apart, turn it around, and put it back together?" and then they are excited with a plan for the next morning.

Sometimes everyone is eager to tell the story of their reflection and we have time to listen to each other's days. Other times the reflection is hard at the end of a long day and we just take some time to look at other people's drawings and recognize what part of the day others found important compared to what really stuck out for you.

Did you have the same experience as another tinkerer? Did you have a totally different day than the person you worked along side for most of the afternoon? If you got to do it all over again - would you do it the same? or different? To improve it? Or just for fun?

More photos to reflect on over at the Flickr album!

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