Usually in my classroom, I move around. A lot. I walk from one area to another, interacting with children, taking about what they are doing. I listen. I ask questions. I answer questions. I talk about what I see kids doing. I pay attention and I learn.
But one day, I stayed in one place and learned something.
A couple of boys were working puzzles at a table. I moved over and sat down. We talked and I watched - just what usually happens. The boys finished their puzzles and moved away. I stayed seated at the table, watching what was happened nearby in the blocks center.
Another boy came over. He told me something and I responded. He sat down and began working a puzzle. Another boy came to the table and began to work. We talked about what they were doing and other things.
Those boys left as someone walked up to me on the other side. He showed me what he had done at the art table and we talked for several minutes. He explained his drawing and why he did what he did. I asked a couple of questions. He put his drawing on the "take home" table and came immediately back to work a puzzle.
This happened over and over again. Kids came and went. Some brought other things to talk to me about. I didn't move out of that (tiny) chair until the table became full and a child needed the space to work a puzzle.
I don't think I've seen that much activity with puzzles in several months. Our kids like puzzles and will work them when available. But not usually like I saw that day.
So what? Why did I tell this long story about our puzzle experience? Well, I realized something. My presence (an adult presence, that is) brought more attention to the table. I think that some kids may have just wanted to have conversation or a quiet moment with an adult. And there I sat.
This has happened again several times. I'll sit in a particular area. Boys and girls will come over, look at what's available, and work for a while. They will talk to me (or just work and not talk). Sometimes they will want to talk about other things and not work at all.
Do you move all the time in your classroom? I'm learning that, maybe, my "on the move" approach is counterproductive to good interactions at times. Maybe some kids are looking for a moment to talk or just be with an adult - and I'm wandering around. Perhaps I've been chased a few times and never even knew it.
Try it in your classroom. When you have a moment, when all your children are busy working and moving, find a place to just sit still. Talk to children as they work near you. Let them take the lead and bring up a subject to you.
I still move around the room. But sometimes I just stop and wait. I stay in one spot. And all those great conversations find me.
Staying still. It can be a great way to connect with kids.