Thursday, August 1, 2013

Skill Focus - Giving Directions with Oh The Places You'll Go by Dr. Seuss

Do you remember that learning moment you had when you were in school where the teacher asked you write the steps for making a .... in my case it was a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Then all of the kids in the class wrote down something like: put the peanut butter on the bread, then the jelly on the bread, put the pieces of bread together and eat it. Then, the teacher stood up at the front of the classroom and chose one or two essays to follow and promptly put the jar of peanut butter on the whole loaf of bread then smashed it down further with the jar of jelly. Bring up funny memories? I remember that moment clearly. The object lesson was that we have to say exactly what we mean when we are asking people to do something. Now, these days if I were giving someone directions I would not be as specific as my teacher had wanted us to be, since I am aware of common knowledge (no one making a sandwich would really put the jar of peanut butter on the loaf of bread, we all know to pull out a few slices!) but learning to give directions and take/follow directions is a really important skill. Today we will be doing some following directions obstacle courses to learn about giving and following directions!

Take a moment to collect a few needed items including but not limited to a blindfold, pillows and a stuffed animal or other toy. Other items you could add would be chairs, piles of books, other stuffed animals or other objects that you can climb over, around or under.

Then, you'll need to set up your obstacle course. You can set up the pillows and other objects around the room. Place the "prize" in a location. I would practice the concept of following directions without the blindfold on before you practice with it on, but it's your call!

We took turns giving and following directions. It took lots of practice, I ran into quite a few pillows and the couch at least once! She struggled with turning instead of stepping. We laughed a lot and more importantly we began to develop the skill of giving and following very specific directions.

"And IF you go in, should you turn left or right...
or right-and-three-quarters? Or, maybe, not quite?
Or go around back and sneak in from behind?
Simple it's not, I'm afraid you'll find,
for a mind-maker-upper to make up his mind"

How did you and your child do? I hope you have as much fun as we did! Let me know how it went! Leave a comment below :)
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