A happy mood, Part 2

Published by Lori Pickert on December 5, 2008 at 04:59 PM

Too perfect, another quote I stumbled across this morning about play and work:

Lawrence Hill, author of Someone Knows My Name, on his first draft: “I was playing with sand castles, building them up and knocking them down.”

A happy mood

Published by Lori Pickert on December 5, 2008 at 12:28 PM


The researchers’ interpretation was that a happy mood broadens thought and leads to insight. — Peter Gray, The Value of Play

In other words, if you are happy, relaxed, joyful, you can play with ideas, play with problems — and accomplish more.

In Reggio Emilia, they say Niente Senza Gioia. Nothing without joy.

Accidental learning

Published by Lori Pickert on December 1, 2008 at 07:21 PM

Every day I make an effort to go toward what I don’t understand. This wandering leads to the accidental learning that continually shapes my life.

— Yo-Yo Ma

Creators of new ideas

Published by Lori Pickert on November 25, 2008 at 02:24 PM

If teaching is reduced to mere data transmission, if there is no sharing of excitement and wonder, if teachers themselves are passive recipients of information and not creators of new ideas, what hope is there for their students?  — Paul Lockhart


Independent ideas out of actual experience

Published by Lori Pickert on November 10, 2008 at 04:12 PM


I am beginning to suspect all elaborate and special systems of education. They seem to me to be built upon the supposition that every child is a kind of idiot who must be taught to think. Whereas, if the child is left to himself, he will think more and better, if less showily. Let him go and come freely, let him touch real things and combine his impressions for himself, instead of sitting indoors at a little round table, while a sweet-voiced teacher suggests that he build a stone wall with his wooden blocks, or make a rainbow out of strips of coloured paper, or plant straw trees in bead flower-pots. Such teaching fills the mind with artificial associations that must be got rid of, before the child can develop independent ideas out of actual experience. — Anne Sullivan

Hat tip: Life Dreamed.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the open thread this weekend! It was great, and we’ll definitely do it again!


Surprised and enthusiastic

Published by Lori Pickert on November 5, 2008 at 01:44 PM

When the adult can no longer be surprised and enthusiastic about what children do, then the role of the teacher is over for that person.

The problem, then, is to become aware of what is happening right under our eyes. — Loris Malaguzzi

A sample provocation

Published by Lori Pickert on November 2, 2008 at 04:15 PM


Inspired by Reggio-style provocations, Jan did a beautiful open-ended art class with her students in which they explored the materials without direction, moved from idea to idea to idea (painting paper, to painting leaves, to printing…), shared and extended each other’s ideas, and even excited their classroom teacher with their interest and engagement!

Check out Jan’s wonderful Reggio Emilia Lesson.

Image-makers and knowledge-builders

Published by Lori Pickert on October 28, 2008 at 09:20 PM

“The key to developing confidence in working with children begins with watching. Take time to watch. Observe children’s absorbed attention, their total concentration, their sheer delight as they play with colours and shapes. Watch their gestures and facial expressions. Listen to their words. Appreciate what they do.

Most importantly, give children time — time to look and ponder, time to explore materials, time to repeat things over and over again. And offer materials and tools of the best quality you can afford, materials that let children shape their own ideas and enable them to realise their potential as image-makers and knowedge-builders.”

— Ursula Kolbe, Rapunzel's Supermarket: All about Young Children and Their Art

Birds in his head

Published by Lori Pickert on October 24, 2008 at 10:19 PM


by Alastair Reid
My son has birds in his head.
I know them now. I catch
the pitch of their calls, their shrill
cacophonies, their chitterings, their coos.
They hover behind his eyes and come to rest
on a branch, on a book, grow still,
claws curled, wings furled.
His is a bird world.
I learn the flutter of his moods,
his moments of swoop and soar.
From the ground I feel him try
the limits of the air —
sudden lift, sudden terror —
and move in time to cradle
his quivering, feathered fear.
At evening, in the tower,
I see him to sleep and see
the hooding-over of eyes,
the slow folding of wings.
I wake to his morning twitterings,
to the croomb of his becoming.
He chooses his selves — wren, hawk,
swallow or owl — to explore
the trees and rooftops of his heady wishing.
Tomtit, birdwit.
Am I to call him down, to give him
a grounding, teach him gravity?
Gently, gently.
Time tells us what we weigh, and soon enough
his feet will reach the ground.
Age, like a cage, will enclose him.
So the wise men said.
My son has birds in his head.
This lovely poem seen on Jora’s blog, Domestic Reflections.