We have a few veteran Magnatilers in our classroom. They are drawn to these incredible magnetic blocks and choose them at almost every opportunity. As an adult, I want to roll my eyes when they ask to play with them again and again, and as a teacher I want to lure them to other things. But this is a common practice at this early childhood age. Maybe not with magnetic blocks exactly, maybe it’s a tricycle, or baby dolls, or drawing. Because children this age often want to gain a feeling of *mastery* with their favorite medium, and no one can tell you when they think you’ve done it, mastery is something you have to feel. Well, I don’t know if these children feel it yet, but their constructions have become so much more complex, and more than that, their social skills around this work are incredible. They used to fight over materials, and feel devastated when something was knocked over. Now they are asking for consent, are constantly offering suggestions, listening to each other, and working out micro conflicts the entire time. So I left my recording device near them one day, and although it came out pretty choppy with all the background noise, I managed to type out a lot of their conversation:
STr: We’re making something
Katee: Oh, what are you making?
STr: We’re making a ship. With the Magnatiles. Right STa?
STa: right. With the Magnatiles. And we’re using most of them.
LG: Oh no! This is almost falling over!
STa: That’s okay, right LG?
STr: and this one can be our pets.
LG: noooo! these are guys!
STr: And this is pets for the rocket ship! The rocket ship has so much pets.
STa: but not this pet, this pet’s the biggest!
LG: but we need a spot for the animals.
STa: Just leave them riiight there.
STr: The rocket ship has so much pets, how can it even get by the pets?
LG: uh oh
STa: Well, very fast
LG: and this could be my pet
STa: uh huh. Oh, woah, so many pets
*clanking, yelling in the background*
LG: yup, it’s an emergency. We gotta go this way.
STa: No, this side is a stinger
LG: oh, I didn’t know that!
STa: yeah, that’s the stinger
STa: yeah, you can see if there’s any more Magnatiles under there, maybe make a ladder
LG: oOoOoOo! OO! Ow! I’m stung!
STa: but, but, it’s okay if the people are stung
LG: oh, yeah, it’s fun! How bout they had so much fun after this day?
STa: when they go in here, they’re in the ocean. And here are room for people.
LG: and what if they have something built to save their pets?
STa: well, your boat can float
LG: what? Is that mine?
LG: I wanna build that, but I wanna build that!
STa: well, I already build it. And I’m using all of them. But you know what? Mavbe there’s more.
LG: aww, uh uh!
STr: what? about what?
LG: you have all of those! Why do you have all of those on the floor?
STr: well, some aren’t a lot. You have a lot too! So that’s why.
STa: because I builded a pet giant
LG: you used all of the Magnatiles
STr: no I didn’t
STa: yeah, I used a whole bunch
STr: actually, STa used a lot of them
LG: you two, stop. I don’t see a lot of detail in STa’s building, I don’t see a lot of detail.
STa: Well you can check if theres more in the basket
STr: hey, that’s my pieces!
LG: it’s okay, you just broke it, you can build it back
STa: no, but these are my two
LG: this one has a stuffy, but a bear stole it, and now he has to get it back!
*counting, superheroes, and chatter in the background*
LG: this one deer is trying to break it, but the wall’s too strong for a deer to knock it down! …It got tranquilized by them.
LG: ho, ho, ho, that’s so funny, ha
*many loud sounds of “oooo”, and “oh no”, clicks, crashes, and giggles*
LG: where can this one go?
STa: What about this tiny crocodile was their pet? their tiny pet?
LG: yeah, and they’re protectors.
STa: no, there are none protectors for them
LG: where can this go? Where can this go?
LG: Now we’ll go to the aquarium..
STa: but this bee is also their friend. The bee can go around the wall because the bee can go right here. In the air.
LG: how bout I’ll build a part to hide from the monster?
STa: but, they thought it was a monster but, the it’s really just a pet.
LG: how bout, how they first thought it was a monster but then they wanted to get out…
STa: no, no, then one came out and said, “actually, that looks like a statue!”
LG: “actually that looks like a statue!” ….ah! Ah!
STa: they gunned a bad guy
LG: uh! Ah! Im getting back into my aquarium! Ah!
STa: yeah, but that one gunned a bad guy.
LG: yeah, this frog. He was BAD.
STa: uh oh
*clank, chatter, click, crash*
STr: and this one goes up to the top! The tippity top!
STa: it is beautiful
STr: oh, you’re breaking it…
STa: No, I’m not breaking it, I’m gonna feed the pets
STa: what about when somebody eats their food, they can just put it back on the pile? Or they can put it in the garbage.
LG: Now the froggy comes and knows about the monster
STa: but how bout the froggy…
LG: Ahhhh! Ooh, it’s still so scaaaary!
STa: And now I’m using the crocodile, okay? And the frog…And the frog was behind the crocodile.
LG: Okay. But I need to stay in the water longer. Cuz I need to stay moist. I need to stay moist because I’m a water creature.
STa: but crocodiles..the crocodile…what about the crocodile and the frogger are bigger now?
LG: arg, raaar, yeeah!
STa: and the crocodile threw the bee
STa: but, what about everything is too hard for him?
LG: Yeah, but then he got ripped this up and caused trash, cuz he was angry
STa: what about the pets that don’t have wings, are broke to put them back
LG: oh noooo
STa: the crocodile went back in the water. The crocodile is the angry, angry one. But just a little angry.
STa: what about these pets did not know what this was?
*”bleeeh, eh, eh, eh, wwooooah, yay! Hohoho, hehehe”
LG: they pooped in my aquarium!
STa: I think it’s just a bat. Uh oh. Hahahaha! It lost one of it’s wings, hahahaha!
LG: Oh no! I’m just hiding in my aquarium
Alisha calls: “Wash you hands if you’d like some snack!”
LG: do you want snack STa?
STa: mm, mm
LG: me neither. Cuz I had yogurt and berries and even an English muffin before.
STa: and I had grapes, cheese, yogurt, and frozen blueberries. That’s a lot!
STr: Can you not knock down my tower
STa: uh huh!……Ah! the pet is BROKEN!
LG: what? How did it brake?!
STa: I do NOT KNOW HOW! Haha…
*HE enters the scene with a big piece of paper with a colorful garden drawn on it*
HE: Guys! Look what I drew! It’s really pretty right?!
HE: You just cant stop looking at it?!
HE: Hey STa, look at my art file. It’s just so pretty you can’t stop looking at it?
LG: it’s so pretty I can’t stop looking at it.
HE: yeah!…it’s flying stuff. All of these dots are flying stuff.
*back to clicks, clanks, and sound effects*