Tuesday, February 2, 2016

How do you know they are engaged?

This is a Tuesday Slice of Life for Two Writing Teachers
Check out their website for many more reflections on teaching.


We are in the midst of a found objects exploration.

Every child brought in ten inconsequential "extras" from home...small things you might typically throw out, but that work so beautifully in our art, math, and storytelling. We have buttons, soda caps, metal pieces, ribbons, wires, game pieces, and so much more. Everyone finds them irresistible. 

There is a lot going on in this one photo:
several children working simultaneously at the table,
separate but together,
two - leaning on one another, back to back,
everyone, intently focused on very small finds,
even searching the floor when one slips from the hands,
holding onto stuffed animals while they work...

I love how so many children can work so closely together, in a small space, and stay happy, content, focused.

Children find real meaning in these small treasures, and
I find real meaning in their engagement.

Here are some of my found objects from a walk on the beach in Saco, Maine over winter break - pieces of sea glass.


  1. "How do you know they are engaged?" is a question not easily answered. There is no single way to know, as you know. I tell kids "it comes out in the wash" all the time in my speech classes. There's no hiding when a student isn't prepared. Everyone in the room knows. Similarly, we know when someone has worked diligently, too.

    Love the photo of the kiddies working and your sea glass.

  2. I love your pictures! I teach middle school, so engagement and how to find what it looks like is a question that comes up over and over. I agree that you can "just see it" when it's present. I see it in your little ones! Jennifer Sniadecki

  3. What a great question - and I think your picture answers it. I agree -- you can just see it. :-)

  4. What a great question - and I think your picture answers it. I agree -- you can just see it. :-)

  5. Kids are so easily impressed, easily in awe of such little things. Such free things! Such beautiful, natural things. It just makes me wonder when things go awry, when little, natural, free things lose their luster... Here's to hoping we keep our sense of awe like you clearly have with your sea glass! Very sweet.

  6. Love how intrigued they are over objects that most of us would be happy to throw away. Great reminder about what curiosity and wonder are all about!

  7. What a wonderful photo of little ones engaged in discovering!

  8. Laura Shovan, a poet/writer is doing a 'found object' poetry challenge this month. You can find her at her website under her name. Love seeing the children, and know that for a long time, children love these "things", even my older kids used them for collage, etc. Wonderful to see that you do this too, Maureen.