The Power of Small Group Work
What is small group work and what is the power it holds?
Small group work is when a group of children are inspired to develop and execute a plan to a make their idea(s) become visible to others. Children, as well as adults, have ideas that are sometimes bigger than their written or spoken words can articulate. This is where the 100 languages of the Reggio Philosophy set in. There are no restrictions for how the children can express their ideas. Whether it be through song lyrics to creating an image through the hodge podge of recycled materials in our Making Area...there are endless possibilities.
When children discover their self agency, they understand that their ideas and thoughts have power. The power to be understood. The power to be provoke additional thoughts and theories outside of themselves. The power to be seen and heard, and most importantly, valued in their community.
As children's ideas originate within our classroom, they begin to understand that they are resourceful and capable beings. Their wheels begin to turn when they see an empty box and the endless possibilities it can turn into. When they notice a need for something in their play, they create it.
As teachers, our role is not to impose our ideas of how to execute their ideas, but rather to learn alongside of them. We listen to their voices, challenge their ideas for deeper learning, be a safety net for when they fail and encourage failure as a learning tool, and to spark joy in the learning process.
Right now, we have small group work going on in the studio with Anna and in the classroom.
When diving deeper into mythology, the class started to explore trickster gods throughout different cultures. As a class, the children wrote a framework to a story with Anna involving these gods as well as some original gods of their own. Each day, children are invited in small groups to work on the movie with Anna using the props and gods that they have created. Below are a few previews of the movie, which is still a work in progress.
In the classroom, the children have been working in small groups with me exploring different gods and goddesses from around the world. They are examining the ideas of power, protection, and manipulation connecting the roles of the chess pieces to the characteristics of the gods and goddesses. Below is our working note board where we record our thoughts and reflections.
Here is some documentation of the children at work collaborating, negotiating, and reflecting on the decisions for each of the chess pieces.
They still have the Bishops to complete and then on to the creation of the actual chess board.
Being part of this journey with them as been such gift for me! Their ideas and collaboration have grown tremendously throughout this process of small group work.
Some random facts about me...