While I was observing him playing, I began thinking about the learning that was taking place. Recently I've been reading Peter Johnston's book, Choice Words: How Our Language Affects Children's Learning. Reading this book makes me very mindful of the language I am using to guide Logan, even when he is playing.
Here are some of the prompts I've found to be helpful during puzzle play. (I've used many words that are not effective too but I'm trying to focus on what works here!)
- "Look at the piece. What do you see?" (I know it sounds dumb, but sometimes kids have to be reminded to LOOK. I think Marie Clay said, "Reading begins with looking and ends when you stop looking."
- "Do you see a part that..." (Do you see a part that has the whale's eye?")
- "Make it match." (Although I use this prompt differently than when instructing reading, it's interesting that it's used in both scenarios.)
- "Check it, are you right?" (Do this both when your child is wrong and when your child is right. It will help your child to really check instead of just reading your cues and thinking, hmmm, I must be wrong because she only says that when I'm incorrect.)
- "I bet you're proud of yourself." (Johnston says, "The more common, 'I'm proud of you.' like other forms of praise, turns a child's attention to please the teacher rather than developing agency." Agency= when a child knows he can accomplish his goals by acting and thinking strategically.)
Ps. The "Shark puzzle" actually has a bunch of ocean animals, but no shark. LOL!
I'm linking this up to We Play at Childhood 101. Check it out for more play based learning ideas.