Students at A2 Charter School spent time jumping rope recently. The activity was not about physical exercise, but rather an experience to help them discover the importance of questioning and posing problems when solving difficult situations. As one of the “16 Habits of Mind” that were developed by Arthur L. Costa and Bena Kallick, questioning and posing problems are attributes that human beings display when they successfully negotiate dilemmas.
After being randomly assigned to five individual groups, students were instructed to develop a plan for each student to jump one time into a turning rope being twirled by two other students. Each student then needed to jump out and the next student did the same allowing only one circle of the rope in between students. In addition, each child needed to take a turn twirling the rope without interrupting the swing of the rope or the flow of the students jumping. The groups competed with each other to complete the task that was physical, but also required timing, cooperation, and ingenuity to be successfully achieved.
After the experience, the entire school assembled to discuss the undertaking and what was learned about problem solving. The simple child’s game of jump rope led to a wealth of strategies for problem solving in the real world.
Harrison Stuckmann reported, “I found out that other people’s ideas are as good as mine or better,” and Destiny Born added, “It is better to agree on things as a group than to just have one person tell everybody else what to do.” Lejla Ganija confirmed that notion, “All ideas contributed are better than just one idea.”
The study of the “16 Habits” is a regular occurrence at A2 Charter School where students learn not only academics but also the behaviors and attitudes that promote personal success and offer insights into some of the characteristics that successful people exercise when they are confronted with problems, the resolutions to which are not obvious or easily attained.
Helen Flynn reported, “We considered that not everyone has the same ability, so we had to plan a system where everyone could work efficiently.” Summing up the experience, Lars Krugel pointed out, “Not every idea will work out; you have to think and plan for the idea to succeed.”
And isn’t that the truth.
(photos posted with parent permission)