Sunday, May 27, 2012

Reasonable Arguments from a 4th Grader

On Thursday, May 24th, I had a disagreement with a student regarding my decision with a game we were playing outside. Let me give you some background on the game first.

The game involved differently colored circular tiles. I am able to put half of my foot on a single tile. There are ten tiles which are numbered one through ten. The objective of the game is to collect the tiles in order from one to ten. To do so, you must only stand on the tiles. If either foot touches the ground, you lose. If you collect every tile from one through nine, you win. Unless you've discovered how to defy gravity, you can't pick up the last tile.

So, I was having students take turns in order of who had asked me first. It's almost time for all of us to head down from the upper to the lower yard. 2nd graders are almost never allowed to play in the upper yard. And, this tile game stays in the upper yard. A 2nd grader comes by and asks me whether she can give it a shot. The other two 4th graders need to take their turns first. However, each of them have already had at least one turn. By the time the second 4th grader would have taken his second turn, the 2nd grader wouldn't have a chance to try the game out. I wanted everyone to have a chance to play the game. So, I said that I want to give the 2nd grader a chance to play.

The second 4th grader wouldn't have that. He put forward some good arguments. I actually agreed with what he was saying, but I wanted everyone to have a chance. I especially wanted this because the 2nd grader wouldn't have a chance to try the game. Anyway, these are a couple of the arguments that he put forward:

#1 "When she's in 3rd grade, she can play this game. Everyone else had to wait. So does she."

#2 "You know when you go to Disney Land and you're waiting in that long line. Then, someone cuts in front of you. That's what's happening here."

Yea, I can't disagree with him on his arguments. I admit fault. Even if I wanted to give the 2nd grader a chance to play, I guess I did essentially both condone and facilitate her cutting into line. So, in the future, even if I want to equalize opportunities for students, I must do so in subordination to the established rules.

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