Scrapping the Plan
The delights of children are not on any kind of time schedule. We take it when it comes and run with it as far as we can. So earlier last week, when a new passion had ignited amongst the Forest Mushroom class, I scrapped the lesson plan in favor of their new interest: Bridges! Was my meticulously planned lesson important? Did it require a significant amount of time and consideration to plan out? Yes on both accounts. However, the value in following the children's lead is much greater. Originally, we planned on organizing the leaves from our leaf hunt based on size and color. Being part of an interest driven classroom means being flexible enough to change, tweak, alter or throw out your plan completely. It's a challenge, certainly, because, as teachers, we love to plan, write lists and organize all of the things! But this is their learning experience.
Instead, they spent last week constructing large bridges that they can walk across of all shapes and sizes. Each morning, they took turns constructing a bridge of their own design and spent time walking across it with their friends. No categorizing of leaves was done that day.
I can say the class discovered a new material that challenged their preconceived ideas of what can be created with blocks.
I can say the process of trial and error was exercised again and again.
I can say that they utilized teamwork and their entire bodies to manipulate blocks as big as themselves.
I can say that they practiced problem solving amongst each other for several hours and built executive functioning.
But I can't say I used my lesson plan.
At the end of the day, the children are the curriculum.