We were walking across the street entering “Kristian’s Park” (a name we had made up because that’s where we had met Kristian) and Lee suddenly asked us:

When did the world turn color?

I remember being surprised by the question but I also remember that my husband and I took our 5 year old’s question seriously. Since we didn’t quite know what prompted his question, we asked him some questions to get an idea of what his frame of reference was. I don’t really remember what we asked him but I do know that he provided this additional information:

The photos in our albums are black-and-white but the photos now are in color. When did the world change?

Wow! Now we had something to work with!

Lee, my husband, and I were reminiscing the other day and this story came up. We all remembered that we had a good conversation and Lee, in particular, remembers that we valued his questions and responded accordingly. Lee and I compared the “picture” we each took of that moment in time! As we each described what we remembered of the moment and where we were, it was uncanny how much they matched. We agreed that we are very visual and it seemed quite appropriate that Lee would have thought of that interesting question.

I told him that it reminded me of one of the practices at the Math Forum. We encourage teachers and ourselves to value what a student is thinking. If we’re not sure where the statement or question is coming from, we don’t discount it but instead we ask some questions. Valuing each individual is key.

Take a look at this sample of our Problem Solving and Communication Activity Series!

activity series sample