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An acquaintance who heard about Beyond Teaching said, “My friend Mary has a nursery school teacher as her sitter and she just raves about him. She will come home and he will have done something like made 50 different paper airplanes with her son.” Leave it to a teacher to come up with creative activities when working with children both in and outside of the classroom.
As teachers, our goal is to encourage children to develop different strategies to attack a single problem. For example, when children learn basic math, we teach them to count using their fingers, by grouping objects together, by memorizing a pattern, etc. At the adolescent level, teachers often encourage this type of thinking by presenting a problem to an individual or a group of students and letting them develop solutions on their own. Within group settings, this is wonderful because students can share their discoveries and learn multiple strategies to attack one problem! With this wealth of information, students can then pick and choose what makes the most sense to them and continue with their preferred strategy.
Encouraging and teaching such thinking is key in helping children to develop problem-solving strategies. Teachers are often trained to work with children in this way, and it becomes second nature to do so both in and outside of the classroom. Instead of giving a direct answer, a teacher will ask questions and encourage children to find an answer with guidance. Coming up with 50 different ways to make a paper airplane is just one wonderful example of how one teacher does it!
Here’s a great resource for making paper airplanes with your child!