I have been a LEGO lover for a long time…yeah, probably my whole life in some form or another. Those forms have been many: as a kid building houses with my brother; admiring whole LEGO towns that a friend had built in his basement; watching my kids start to play and build with them (in a much more sophisticated and creative way than me, I might add. I could only build houses. Because those are rectangles and that’s what you dod with LEGOS is build rectangles, right? I kid, but that’s how my brain used to work); learning how to best organize them based on how a 6 year old plays with them (it’s not by color, by the way, as many Pinterest boards will suggest); and then as a teacher learning to incorporate building, creativity and play into my classroom. I have had opportunities over the years to try new things and learn from other LEGO-loving educators and so have been learning how to better use LEGOS as a learning tool (in addition to them just being a super fun toy during choice time and inside recess!).
So far we have used them “officially” to build our names (pics later!) as well as on Friday in a LEGO lesson on leading and following that was SUPER! Let me tell you all about it…:)
We started our day with an easel question that looked like this:
In case you missed it on those post-its, kiddo shared FABULOUS ideas about leaders:
- the help people
- they are teachers
- they have followers
- they are the person in charge
- they are the boss
We talked about what it was like to be the leader, and times in their lives when they have the opportunity to be the leader, or to be in charge. Some were at home and some were at school. They also shared times when they had to be the follower, and how sometimes you don’t have a choice about what your leader asks (or tells!) you to do, and that sometimes you might not like it. We also talked about how sometimes there are situations where you have to be BOTH a leader and a follower: a specific place this happens at school is when you are in line.
After we talked about this idea and had a pretty good idea about what it all meant, we went outside to practice. We played follow the leader and wound ourselves all around our Robinson playground. It was fun, but was also a little tricky, because often someone would not be paying attention and their follower would then not know were to go, or would go a different way than the rest of the line!
Once we got back inside we pulled out LEGO learning tools and tried another activity I learned from a SUPER smart colleague of mine, Mrs. Marks. Kiddos worked with their carpet partners (a friend with whom they sit on the rug for our learning times, use when we do turn-and-talk, and someone they pair up with for a variety of learning situations) to build a LEGO structure. One person was the leader, and had to lead their partner (the follower) to build the same structure that they built. Man–this is harder than it seems and requires both partners to pull from a specific skill set. It’s also a little tricky because they can only use the pile of LEGOS they are given, and so much be careful with their block choices, ensuring that there are TWO of everything so their partner can copy their work. After a certain amount of time, partners switched and got to try the other role.
For the most part, things went swimmingly and pairs figured out how to work successfully in the role they were given. Learners knew they had succeeded if at the end they had two identical structures. Their smiles are proof of their pride. 🙂
As is routine in our class, we had a debrief when we were finished (because the process of an activity is as important–if not more-than the product!). Kiddos shared what they had to do to be successful in each role, and compared how these were often different depending on which one they were in.
many most of the lessons we do early on in first grade, we will come back to this experience time and time again. There are so many nuggets of wisdom in that chart that will help us be successful in the future, the first grade future and beyond!