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In the Classroom: The Roadrunners

Following a Path to Emergence
 
Submitted by Roadrunner Assistant Teacher Angel Brice
 
Who's the teacher here? The Roadrunners have not engaged in any of the activities we have prepared for them this morning. Instead they are beating on drums and tambourines, singing, running, and dancing! 
 
As a teacher, I am not discouraged! As I observe their enthusiasm, I make a suggestion. How about we make a Soul Train line?
 
We get into our time machines and travel to the 70’s. We search the Internet for Motown and watch a short video to see what a Soul Train dance line looks like. (Go ahead and Google it. You won't be disappointed!)
 
We notice the different types of dancing and clothing styles. Then the Roadrunners boogie on down! What other learning can we integrate?
 
The Roadrunners get excited to write a book about Soul Train. They draw themselves dancing and write “H-A-P-P-Y” and even draw musical notation. As authors, the children dictate newly learned vocabulary in their descriptions. 
 
While working on their books, the Roadrunners talk about the bat we recently saw sleeping in a window. One child asks the others, “Do you think the vampire bat is still sleeping?” He continues, “We should be very quiet,” and just like that, the classroom becomes a cave with places to hide. 
 
The children search for different things to use as protection, while others set traps. It's Roadrunners versus the vampire bat and I ask myself again, what learning can we integrate?
 
We add and subtract the number of chairs we need to cover the “tunnel” we create. We change our voices and use paper to draw props we need. Some Roadrunners notice that smaller children fit into smaller hiding spaces, while taller ones can reach higher places.
 
This morning, in a Roadrunner created world, we integrated the arts, math, literacy, and science, along with fine and gross motor skills. And then the Roadrunners surprised me by asking to write another book, The Day the Roadrunners Ran into a Vampire Bat!
 
"By sharing control of the curriculum and letting go of the belief that a teacher has to have all the knowledge and make all the decisions, a classroom can actually appear more in control” (Kashin, 2011, Curriculum Exchange). When I allow the children to take the lead, they teach me what they want to learn. Being in the Roadrunner classroom, I see the emerging curriculum on a daily basis and I love the way this way of learning encourages and nurtures each child’s curiosity.