Problem Solving Theater
One of the ways we continue to build on the social/emotional learning in our classroom as a way to strengthen our community is to stage a social conflict that we have been observing in the classroom—through puppetry or drama. We then invite children to share their observations and their unique perspective as a way to understand what support may look like for themselves or for other children. Below you will see a transcript of the exchange that followed after Teachers Caroline and Kimie enacted a conflict in the block area.
Once upon a time there were two friends, Caroline and Kimie. Kimie goes to blocks area with a plan to build a space ship. Caroline quickly grabs up most of the blocks, not leaving enough for Kimie to build with. Kimie thinks aloud, “I will use one of the strategies from the strategy fairy! I will give Caroline a clear message and ask a question.” “Caroline, I need some of those blocks to make a space ship. Can I have a few? You took all of them.” Caroline ignores Kimie and keeps playing. Kimie asks again but is ignored.
We then posed the question: What do you think Kimie is feeling right now?
Lou: Not happy that Caroline took all the blocks.
Isabelle: Kimie’s feeling frustrated.
Sabatino: Mad because Caroline took all the blocks and Kimie only had one.
Caroline: What else did you notice?
Isabelle: Caroline didn’t listen to Kimie. She was making noise and couldn’t hear her.
Caroline: I’m going to give you a little clue: I did hear her, but I still didn’t do anything.
Sabatino: Why are you not listening when she was talking to you?
Zehren: You are ignoring her!
Caroline: Why do you think I was doing that?
Lou: Caroline, I think you are playing and you didn’t want to stop playing your game.
Caroline: How do you think I was feeling?
Isabelle: Happy because you didn’t have to stop playing. But maybe you could get out more blocks.
Caroline: So you have an idea how to solve the problem.
Owen: You could let it go.
Evie: There’s more blocks right there! The same ones!
Caroline: I’m going to give you another hint. I didn’t say anything because I was afraid that she was going to take blocks that I needed. I was feeling nervous that my structure wouldn’t turn out so good.
But what if there were no more blocks and someone was ignoring you. What could you do?
Isabelle: You could ask a teacher for help. But you’re the teachers so WE have to be the teachers!?
Caroline: Ok, let’s act it out again and see what you notice this time. I’m going to try out your ideas and use the strategy of a Do-over.
Once upon a time there were two friends… This time Kimie now knows how Caroline is feeling about sharing the blocks so she says, “Caroline, I wanted to make a space ship. Could you please give me two of your blocks? Then we could BOTH have space ships and blast off together. Don’t worry, I won’t take them all, yours will still be cool!” Caroline, “Ok…” “1,2,3 blast off! Yayy! I know, let’s connect ours together when we land!” “Yeah!”
Keithen: When you first did it, you got one block but the second part where you had two blocks from Caroline, you connected your ideas together!
Kimie: Is that how you like it to be in your community, or do you think we should ignore each other?
Keithen: I like it to put the ideas together.
Sam: I would say go get a teacher.
Lou: You could go get a friend to help. Or try asking a question.
Caroline: What would it sound like?
Lou: You’d say, “Can I use this?” and if you say “No,” I’d say, “Why?”
Caroline: Do you think this story will help you today?