Do you ever run into this problem? You have a child who has been slaving away on a block project and is devastated when it’s time to clean up? Here are a couple of ideas for handling that situation.
Take a picture, it’ll last longer. Keep a digital camera handy and snap a few shots. Tell Little Jimmy you will email the picture so that he can look at it on his computer at home, and show it to his parents. Kids quickly shift gears into photo-op mode, when they contemplate the idea of having a picture magically appear on their computer! Sending the pictures home also goes a long way in communicating with the parents about what their child has been doing at school. Add a note such as, “Jimmy was so proud of this structure, I just had to send a picture so he could tell you about it himself. He worked on it for 15 minutes and showed an eye for detail and symmetry.” When Jimmy gets to show off this picture at home, it reinforces the home-school connection, encourages use of language skills as he describes what he did, and it is a huge boost to his self-esteem.
Do not disturb. If the project is in an area where it could be preserved place a “Please Do Not Touch” sign in front of it and allow the child to finish the next day. Include the graphic of a hand with the universal no signal crossing it out. Make sure you take time to explain what this sign means ahead of time so that your overzealous cleaners don’t dive right in to disassemble the structure. Discussing the sign, and particularly the “no” symbol, is a great way to incorporate literacyand environmental print. You’ll be surprised how frequently these children find that symbol around them once they’ve become aware of it. Reading picture symbols is a great prereading skill as it firms the concept of symbols carrying meaning. Children learn to “read” these pictures before they learn to read letters, but the concept of symbols representing language is the same.
Recognize that these children often spend a great deal of time planning and working on these structures. Not many of us are immediately ready to scrap our day’s work just because the cleanup song starts up.