Looking is Different than Seeing

Today is the fourth school closure for severe weather temperatures this month.  I closed the first three but felt that today wasn’t a very good call by the school board.  Two of my tykes are here today and I have set out some new things to explore and then stepped back to SEE these two guys in action.  It’s a pretty simple concept…..looking and seeing….but they are very different….

Typically my eyes are dashing here and there and assessing the probability that the chair Miss S. is  rocking will or will not fall, if Miss O. really has long enough legs to navigate herself up onto our observation deck, or if I can ever really calculate the odds of whether or not Mr. M is going to throw (insert any and every object) and how far or who it will impact….I am looking all the time…


I am not, however, seeing.  Today I spied my delicious Mr. M putting objects to his face…again….He does this with everything.  I’ve looked at this behavior as I rush around looking to make sure all tykes are happy, safe, and breathing.  I have looked at this scenario so very often, but today, because I was able to really just observe, I saw the behavior and everything clicked in my brain.

He is gauging temperature and texture of random objects using his soft cheeks.  I was awestruck as I watched him keep one rock at his cheek and then put a “fresh” rock up to that same spot.  He knew they felt different and knew that his cheek somehow held the magic to change a cold rock into a warm rock.  He’s twenty-two months and is testing and retesting an unspoken hypothesis…

Today he wanted to know more, so he brought me the rocks and put one to my cheek.  Because I was “seeing” and not just “looking”, his request became a teachable moment and not just a language lesson of “rock….rock….it’s a rock…”.  Today, I shivered when he put the cold rock on my check and said, “Brrrr….cold…..The rock is cold.”  He held it to my check until it was warm and then put the warmed rock on his own cheek.  I added, “Ahhh..warm….The rock is warm.”  His little green/grey eyes lit up.  He began to mouth the word “cold” over and over again……


By really seeing and not merely looking today, Mr. M was given the next piece of information he was seeking on his temperature hypothesis quest.  This is how we learn.  We add one piece of the puzzle to our question at a time….

So now, in the quietness of nap time, I am thinking about what materials I can bring in to add to Mr. M’s desire to explore temperature changes and textures.  This is what being a teacher is all about…..taking that precious treasure’s question, even if it is not audible, and helping them bridge the information gap so they can do more and be more and learn more as they gain additional pieces to what they wanting to learn.

I do not like store-bought or prepackaged curriculum for this very reason. The writer has no clue what your students are interested in and if their immediate interests are not developed, they lose interest and the desire to learn deeply and broadly while their interests are so intense and their drive to know more is peaked will also be lost…..

Today I have determined to see…really see what goes on with my tykes and not just be a looker because I am so distracted by the nonstop commotion in our room.  Today I have determined to not SEE, but also DO…..

Tonight I will buy a light bulb for my old desk lamp so Mr. M can safely experience temperature changes from cold to warm using the light from the lamp.  This will also help Miss O to explore shadows that she became so engaged with last week when the winter sun finally shone from behind those thick cold clouds…..

Here’s to seeing and doing…..

Until next time,



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