Wait Time is key for learning

I was not born in New Orleans but I have been raised here and my children are born and bred New Orleanians so Mardi Gras is a Big Deal here.  This morning my daughter woke up and decided that she wanted to build a Mardi Gras float.  Annnnd I let her.  She took old shoe boxes and create not just 1 one float but 2 floats with beads to throw.

My ah ha moment happened when she tried to do it one way but had no success so she went back upstairs to her “laboratory” and came back with some improvements that worked.   SHE went back to the drawing board and came up with a way to get her float to work.

Morrah's Mardi Gras Float

She created a float with cut outs on top and wanted to be able to drag the box around as her float.  It did not work because she had placed the tow line in the wrong place.  My first instinct when it didn’t work for her was to give suggestions (which is a euphemism for me telling her how to do it.)  I did not; I let her go and she came back with improvements that went above and beyond what her original intent.  She was able to create and then re-create floats that were cute and mobile.  Her original goal was to have something that was cute.

Morrah's 2nd attempt

When she came back down, she had fashioned another float from a shoe box with the tow line in a better place and she was able to drag it along.  Once she realized that the positioning of the tow line make the difference she then made adjustments on her first model and VOILA she went from 1 float to a 2 float parade.

What would have happened if I would have followed my instincts and given her the “right answer?”  Would her success have been as sweet?  Right now she is dragging her parade up and down the halls with no one to see them but the two of us. She has feathers in her pants and she is marching with the precision of a drum major.   Of course it is just a mother’s love but …  I’d swear that I hear bands and crowds as she goes on her parade route throwing beads with her 2 floats behind her.

Morrah's parade


Just a reminder: As a teacher if we are doing what we should be doing and the kids are getting knowledge, tools and techniques from us,  then they sometimes need the ‘wait time’ to put together all of the tidbits of knowledge that we give them.  My daughter needed to go back and think about it and she created something that worked for her.  That is what we need to allow our students to do. They have to CHEW on it and DIGEST it before the can …. USE it. 

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