I have a doodler in my classroom. He is a chatty one too! He’d rather doodle than do, well, any school work that’s for sure. He likes to practice new methods he’s learned in art class and sketch out a video game scenario or two. And, truth be told, he’s pretty good.
But yesterday, he was doodling while I was addressing the class on the rug. Actually, we were discussing the emotions found in a piece of music by Chopin (later to turn into visualization and storytelling), and he was doodling.
“Sammy,” I called out in my part teacher, part ex-coach voice, (not his name to protect the young lad in question), “Bring that over here.” And he did, and I took it and I put it off to the side to discuss later. “Now please go back to where you were and focus with us.”
While we were transitioning to the next activity scheduled for the day, I called Sammy over to speak with me. I took hold of his small, stapled stack of papers, the first four pages filled with large doodles and asked rather annoyed, “What were you doing while we were listening and talking together?”
His face looked rather puppy-dog like, his mouth open, shoulders up and then he made his plea: “I had a great idea and I wanted to draw it before I forgot. I was remembering what we learned in art yesterday and I thought I could use it to make this picture of the K-Mart lightbulb guy. I was also listening, Mrs. Peterson. Sometimes I just like to doodle especially while listening to music because it helps me focus.”
Well, what was I to do? Here I was: a teacher so accepting of the arts, students’ talents, the multiple intelligences; and one of my students was reminding me, now putting into flesh just what I had blogged about the day before: How misbehaviors are an indication of an intelligence, a sign of how students learn best, and a cry for help!
As this boy stood in front of me, my mind was reflecting (I do that as a highly intrapersonal being) and I forced my facial expression to change. The hardened “teacher look” slowly softened to one of inquisition.
“Really, Sammy, this helps you to focus? Tell me more.”
Sammy’s face was now changing. The nervous expression moved to confusion and then to happiness. He almost excitedly started to explain to me how he loves to draw and how the art teacher had been teaching them how to draw rounded objects and how he had a great idea that came to him while listening to the music during snack. He wanted to draw it out and while he was, he was listening.
I have to be honest with you, I still am not sure how the brain can draw and listen at the same time, but that’s my brain and mine is not wired like other brains. To some degree, I have to accept what he said. Why not? My visual intelligence is not highly developed. His is. Therefore he brings something different to our learning environment.
Now, let’s be real for a moment. Yes, his body language was screaming disrespect and disregard for what we were doing. But was it?
Apparently I have more to learn…