Here is a scenario from a Year 1 class.
The children each take some of the ten sticks and arrange the few they have in order in front of them on the table.
|Teacher||John, can you tell us what you have done?||The teacher questions the word ‘sorted’ because she wants the children to understand that they are putting things in order, not sorting them. Sorting or classification is a different schema or kind of thinking from ordering or seriation.
The teacher gives the children the opportunity to rethink the instruction they had been given. It is all too easy to step in and give the message that they have done something wrong and to give further instructions without letting them realise that they can reach it themselves. On this occasion the teacher adds the section that the children had forgotten. Later in the year, this group began to check out the challenge before they actually started. They realised that they often began something quickly and then had to begin again so they devised a system of checking with each other before they got underway. This was their idea and it worked effectively. They were also observed using a similar checking system with children from other groups during lessons from the rest of the curriculum.
|John||Sorted the sticks.|
|Teacher||Have you sorted them?|
|Rhana||No, put them in order.|
|Teacher||You don’t think he’s sorted the sticks?|
|Rhana||No, he put them in order big, medium and little.|
|Stella||Yes, we all have.|
|Teacher||Yes, you have, but what did I ask you to do?|
|Rhana||Put them in order – big to little.|
|Teacher||Yes, but you have six groups in order, I asked for one set – all the sticks in order.|
|Fran||Oh, we have to put them together|