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Field Notes Day Three-- 3/2

Miranda's picture

Notes: Today, I played freeze tag with the kids at recess. Ms. S and Mr. D were playing too, and alternated between participating, running away from the “it” and unfreezing players, and keeping an eye out that the game didn’t get too rowdy and resolving disputes about the rules. Part way through the game, I noticed that Hayley and Jenny, the only two girls in the glass, were some of the only people not playing tag. I went over to talk to them (got frozen on the way and had to get unfrozen by Ms. S) and asked why they weren’t playing. Hayley said that Jenny was feeling sick and didn’t want to run. I asked if they wanted to make sand castles; we made a tower with walls and a moat and a drawbridge. Jenny said that it would rain soon and the moat would fill up: “and NO ONE will be able to attack the castle!” Some of the boys noticed the castle and came over to look, and the sandbox gradually filled up with kindergarteners digging and building their own castles. Danny started to toss sand at the girls, so I quickly asked him to help me build a sand watchtower. He hesitated, then agreed.

In the music class, Ms. D is still talking with students about classical composers, Beethoven, Bach, and Brahms (“the three B’s!”). Students also got to play tambourines and get up and dance.  


Thoughts: Last week, when I was talking with Ms. S about ways to help students interact positively, we talked about how sometimes just interrupting or pulling attention away from a negative behavior can help solve a problem without directly confronting it. Today, when we were building sandcastles and recess and Danny started to throw sand at other students, all that was needed was a quick distraction. Maybe it would have been better to directly intervene and tell him not to throw sand, but I think that he knows that he isn’t supposed to throw sand and was just bored.

As usual with this class of kindergarteners, when they get into a large group, the energy is very intense and sometimes feels as though things are on the edge of boiling over and turning into a fight or disagreement. This is probably why the teachers seem to structure playtime more than I would have expected.


Remember: Even when focusing on individual students in the class, keep on eye on group dynamics. It would be easy to accidentally fuel some sort of tension or argument just by paying attention to some kids while ignoring others.



alesnick's picture

I appreciate this careful distinction and share your sense that the option just to re-route rather than give instruction about a disruptive action works well.  Great point about keeping an eye on group as well as individuals.  Interesting, too, to consider how individuals are part of a specific group system here.