After exploring the language of symmetry, which I wrote about in my previous post, I started trying to figure out a straightforward way to teach this symmetry to the children that I will be meeting with next month. I’ve spent many hours over many days, creating all sorts of pattern templates, page templates, drawings, designs and cut-outs with the goal of presenting something clear, inspiring and doable. It’s not working out. It’s time to give up. I have a big envelope that everything is going into.
I’m surprised. It seemed to be going well. I figured out, for instance, that the best way to make a strip with vertical symmetry was to make an accordion, which easy to fold, especially if I make copies using the patterned paper shown above.
Still, after days of working out systems and designs, I didn’t have that feeling that I get when I know I’ve gotten it right.
It’s a disappointment, to say that least, to acknowledge that I need to just stop and put this all aside. I’ve been at the place before: It doesn’t scare me anymore, it’s just that I was so excited about how things seemed to be working out. I’m perplexed that I’m not ending up where I wanted to be.
Now, hours later, I’m sorting out what’s missing.
What I’m missing is the input of the students. The way that I really learn to teach something is to actually teach it. I watch how students react to what I’m explaining, I watch the work that they do, listen to the questions they ask, learn where my teaching is lacking through the “mistakes” that they make. I’m in this isolated vacuum now. To make this lesson vibrant, to make it snap, I need the students. So, that’s it. Everything is in the envelope. To be continued, after adding students….