show and tell

Did you have show and tell as a kid?

I have a vague recollection of knowing what it was but never having actually practiced it in any of my classrooms growing up.

My Mom does something with her middle school children where they get a chance to share, like show and tell, one day each week.  I love some of the stories she’s shared with me.  I associate middle school with a nightmarish social scene, and knowing that there are some kids out there having good, emotionally safe experiences is great!

So Austin got to take us on a show-and-tell tour of some of his favorite “work” he chooses at his Montessori school.

It was such a fascinating experience to see my son in a completely different context.  He was attentive to details, he was respectful of the materials and space.  The kids use real glass dishes and such.  He was focused…he was an enthusiastic professional in each “work” he showed us.

The younger brother who desperately wants to be part of all the things happening in the classroom but is not every other day went bonkers at the opportunity to actually touch the materials.

It was wild to watch Gabe’s untrained enthusiasm derail the ordered predictability in Austin’s experience.  When big brother is in school, he and ALL the children must treat each material a specific way.  They receive lessons on it, they practice and practice them, there is protocol.

A two year old in the mix was a hard thing to manage.  He was SO eager to be involved, included, to explore.  But of course he has had no lessons nor did we have time to perform one on each activity.  So rather than getting a mat to do the number sticks (this is not their “correct” name), he just did it on the shelf.

Austin’s togetherness deteriorated into this frantic pace, desperate to have his classroom back under control.  Makes me wonder what the best thing to do is.

But overall, it was wonderful to hear how he teaches the younger children to fold laundry (really!?!  I have GOT to get on this wagon).  We saw his projects, which we were impressed with (more to come when it comes home).  We were tutored in the numerous steps involved in washing one’s hands in the wash basin.  So careful and purposeful the kids move.

A bouquet was cut and arranged.

This picture sums up a lot of the dynamic.  A proud creation by big brother…little brother must.touch.creation.

His activity was pretty cool too though…

But even at the end, despite wild dynamics that little brothers *who are 2* bring to the classroom, they had a fantastic time.

As evidenced by the fact that it took everyone an extra HOUR to fall asleep tonight at bedtime.

Yes, other than Monday, the high of every day for my bigger boy is “Going to school” and the low is often “When I had to leave school.”

Sigh of relief.  Wash of excitement.

School can be so wonderful.

Did you get to do Show and Tell as a kid?  Any memorable ones?


3 responses to “show and tell

  1. Man, Ging, this is a wonderful school environment for Austin. Organized play, calm procedures that lend themselves to structure and calm. Oh how I’d love to introduce that into my classroom procedures. Having 60 kids in a room for a class makes it more challenging. It actually reminded me of summer camp — ordered, structured, calm, expectations were that students acted decently and orderly. Love it!! Someday I would love to see Austins school. Let’s make a date for that someday!!!

  2. I love this Bee! I’m so excited Austin is loving school and feeling competent in what he is learning! It’s so good to see you together as a family too. So special!

  3. How wonderful to see your boys engaged in the formal environment of school, even if they are a few years apart! You can see the wheels turning in their brains as they calmly explore and manipulate objects as they are learning.
    Yesterday in class, the woman I work with (a reading specialist) got side-tracked when one of the boys asked what it means to be dyslexic. Well, she went into a rather detailed explanation, complete with drawings on the board, about what happens in the brain when reading occurs. The eye sees an object, which is transmitted to two spots in the left brain that identify the object, which in turn sends a signal to a place in the right brain where retrieval of stored information about that object is found, all of course happening with the speed that no computer can mimic. If any of those connections are interrupted in any way, a child can have a hard time reading. The whole class was enthralled — it was the quietest they have been all year. Kids love learning about themselves, and I think it meant a lot to them to have somebody explain it in a way that didn’t talk down to them, or criticize them for being the way they are. We have one student who struggles with the difference between “b”, “d”, “p”, and “q” — they are all the same object turned in four different ways on the page (forward, backward, flipped and forward, and flipped and backward). It’s no wonder he hates to read — it takes a tremendous amount of mental energy to hold all those symbols in his short-term memory. Some students have difficulty with decoding, others with comprehension, still others with fluency. Then you throw in the fact that when kids don’t read well, they usually compensate for it by talking a lot (that’s how they gather information about stuff), and maybe a case of ADD or ADHD, and it’s a very difficult situation. We have one class with 10 kids (8 boys and 2 girls) and literally half of them have ADHD. Yikes, it’s a challenge!
    So to see your boys calmly engaged in activities is so fantastic to see. And to give them the time to explore and learn on their own terms allows them to “own” their learning and have control of their own environment. When Nels was little, he was a very compliant child. If I looked at him cross-wise, he’d shape up real quickly. And then came Garth. That kid could outlast me in any argument. His favorite phrase was (with fists on hips), “Mom, you make me so mad!” I quickly learned that if I butt heads with him, he would dig in his heels and tenaciously hang on to his desire to change the situation in his favor. I realized one day that he had a strong need to control his own environment, so I began to negotiate things with him. (“Okay, we can go for a walk, but Mom is doing the dishes right now. Give me 10 minutes to finish, and I’ll meet you outside.”) I was amazed at how well it worked — Garth got to go on the walk he wanted, but Mom also won because I got to finish what I was working on first. And there was peace in the land…
    Keep up the good work. You guys are great parents!

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