Constructing

On the first full day of school. At one point in the morning I walked down the hall to see the oldest group of children, and they were all gathered around, writing notes to come to the studio. When I asked them what they were coming for, they had many ideas. I heard "make a crib", "make a canon", "make a costume", and "make a cuckoo clock". I told the children that they had so many ideas, and I would like it if they could talk together about an idea that they could all work on. Was there anything that would use a cuckoo clock and a canon? Someone suggested they could put on a show. I left them to talk it over.
Later, a smaller group of boys from the Meadow room came with a note that said they wanted to make a circus. The circus would have a canon, and when I asked what else a circus would need, they talked about animals and a tent. Two of the boys decided to use plasticine for the animals. Two others weren't sure what to do, so I asked if they would start working on a circus tent.
The first sticky problem I noticed was that at least one of the boys seemed to want a life-size circus, and at least one was thinking more of a table-top size. Reaching some kind of consensus on this is important if the group is going to be successful. Often young children  don't realize that they are not all thinking about a project in the same way, and need to develop a common 'situation definition'.
We printed off some circus pictures from the internet, and Henry drew some plans for a tent. The first one was a purple triangle.
When I asked them about what size tent they wanted to build, they decided that they did want to make a circus they could be in, but would first make a "toy-sized" circus, to help them learn how.
2 days later now, Benjamin still  makes sure to say that they have to make a bigger tent after this one.

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