I teach kindergarten half-time. Working with the youngest students in the school is busy, especially during centres time. Although they develop so much independence over the school year, there are often things they still need help with, whether it’s holding a craft while they tape or staple, solving a conflict with a peer, or helping to clean up a spill. Then there’s the time that’s needed for various assessments, whether it’s writing observations, direct questioning and testing, or helping students add to their digital portfolios. This is where my ideal centres world and my lived centres world don’t always match.
But one day last week, my ideal centres world got to come out for a few minutes. I had time to sit on the floor with four students and build with Kinex. The time to talk with them about their learning was valuable – I got to hear their thinking about the building process and do a mini-lesson with counting, as well as have them clarify some of their statements. But equally valuable was the social talking we did – about grandparents, an upcoming trip to Hawaii, and Easter.
Task-driven talk drives much of my time in the classroom. It’s important to make as much time as possible for social talk that builds and extends relationships with my students.