Last week, we heard the myth about the competition between Athena and her uncle Poseidon to gain the reign of a coastal city. We learned that only one god or goddess could rule a town because they did not share well. These two powers decided the only fair way for them to declare the true ruler of this town was to each offer a gift to the mortals and for them to then decide.
The children were paired up to collaborate and come up with an idea for a gift that they would have given the mortals. This collaboration allowed for not only creative thinking to take place, but an opportunity for the children to practice the art of negotiating and compromising. One of the many examples of compromise I observed was a group wanting to present the mortals with an entire farm, but this would have been considered numerous gifts. They had to work together to declare the one idea from the farm that would be the most beneficial gift for the mortals. The conversation between these two children went back and forth. It was reflective, insightful, respectful, and most importantly productive, with their decision making.
Once their plans were visible on paper, the children were let free to create their gift to present with any medium of their choice. They were quick to get to work.
Anna came in during the week and asked the children, How did the groups decide upon one idea? For some children, the art of compromise is second nature, while for others, not so much yet as they may need some scaffolding now and then.
The children shared the following ideas for how they can work together to come up with one shared idea:
-rock, paper, scissor (but then someone noted that the one who did not win might feel sad)
-each drawing/sharing their own ideas and then meshing them together
-sharing ideas back and forth until each person thinks one is great
-thinking of a third idea that they both like
Having a toolkit for these metacognitive strategies while working with others is an important life skill. It offers opportunities for reflection and growth by all working members. By sharing these strategies out loud, it becomes a common language for the children to try to use these tools for compromising and negotiation independently.
Though all the children are done creating their gifts, there are still two groups that need to share their offerings to the class. I will post more documentation of their completed ideas next week.
The common themes of the gifts that I noted were the longevity of their idea and how it would benefit the people. Some used the idea of magic, the concept of regeneration, and the ability of the gift to be used multiple ways. I couldn't help but wonder about the bigger idea of what a gift truly means? Is it simply the thought? Is it the magnitude of the idea behind the gift? Do gifts only come from people? Can gifts be something one cannot always unwrap and hold? How do we measure the value of a gift? Should a gift even be measured for its wealth? Who decides what is wealth? Can wealth vary between people?
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