Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Thinking About Children's Thinking!

Thinking about Children's Thinking

Now that's a brain full isn't it?
There simply aren't enough hours in a day to reflect on all the thoughts that spin around in a classroom.  It would be wonderful if we could pause at every turn to delve into the children's thinking on the hundreds of topics they encounter.

This was an interesting experience.

Taylor and Sophie constructed a "Royal Tent."

The teacher asked, "What does Royal mean?"
Taylor ~ You need something sparkly and colorful to make it Royal.
Sophie~Royal means there are beautiful things like dresses, flower dresses, bows and bracelets, earrings, makeup, tiaras and crowns.
Teachers ~Who wears crowns and all these beautiful things.
Sophie ~A princess, Sleeping Beauty, Kings and Queens.
Teacher~So then Royal means you are a King, Queen or Princess. What else makes them a King, Queen, Princess or Prince.
Taylor ~They wear pink, royal blue, bows and sparkly things.
Teacher ~Can you think of anything else that makes them Royal?

Teacher ~ What is the difference between Kings, Queens, Princesses and Princes?
An answer was not provided.
~Your're a princess because you wear pretty dresses and a crown.
~You have to live in a castle to be a princess.
~You go to big parties and you dance with the prince.
~You eat good food on fancy dishes.

Their responses demonstrated how they associate royalty with accessories and not heritage.
In instances such as these we see the influence of media and pop culture on how children compartmentalize life. 

We considered how we could jog their thinking to give them a better understanding of what it truly means to be Royal.

The next day the teacher asked the girls if they knew of a real Prince and Princess.
Taylor ~ I saw Kate on TV. She was wearing a wedding dress. She's a real Princess!

Teacher ~Do you think Royal people, like Princesses, Princes, Queens and Kings wear clothes like you and me?
Taylor ~No that's silly.
The teacher suggested they have a look at Kate and William on the internet. Much to their surprise they saw the Royal couple wearing casual clothes.
At this point a few other children joined in.
Olivia ~Hey they wear clothes just like us!
Teacher ~ Are they still a Prince and Princess in these clothes. are they still Royal?
Oliva ~ Yes they are.
Teacher ~When do you think they wear their pretty clothes and crowns then?
Sophie ~They wear them for parties and special days just like we do!
 Teacher ~ So what makes them Royal if its  not just their clothes?

The girls were stumped.
Teacher ~ Do you think that a Prince or Princess has a mommy and daddy?
Sophie ~Everyone has a mommy and daddy.

Teacher~ If a Prince and Princess have a mommy and daddy, are they also Royal?
Sophie ~ Yes I think they are all Royal.

Teacher ~ So then being Royal means that your family is also Royal?
Olivia ~ Yes everybody is Royal

Since the children in the classroom had been discussing family trees this was a perfect tie in to the next step.
The next day the girls took the time to look at Queen Elizabeth's family tree.

It all begins with the grandmother and grandfather, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip.

They have a son named Charles and he married Diana. She was a princess.

They had two sons Prince William and Prince Harry- Prince Harry is not married but Prince William married Kate and now she's a princess.

Prince William and Kate have two children Prince George and Princess Charlotte

At the end of this experience the girls came to some new conclusions about the meaning of being Royal.
Teacher ~ So tell me what what makes a Princess a Princess or a Prince a Prince. Is it the clothes they wear?

Sophie~Someone is a Queen or King or Princess and Prince if they have a mommy or daddy who is one.  They can wear the fancy clothes when it is for something special.


  1. Thank you for posting this. I love the this idea of examining student thinking. It provides the evidence we need to further our teaching which helps students understand. The connections you made when listening to them talk around royalty, clothing, accessories or heritage would not have been made if you were to have just had them draw an image of what they thought prince and princesses looked like. It is nice to see the learning and growth in their understanding taking place. I look forward to reading more.

  2. The colorful blocks at the top are so beautiful, where did you buy them? would love to buy them for my kids.