We have a tradition around our house for Pizza Fridays. I got to be friends with Vicki when Elizabeth was her student and invited her over one fateful Friday night several years ago. It’s an open invitation. Sometimes there are 15 people; sometimes it’s just us. Sometimes it’s all kids; sometimes the grownups outnumber the small ones. Sometimes it’s frozen pizzas; sometimes it’s Dominos; sometimes, it’s Sals. Sometimes we watch a movie; sometimes we play games. Sometimes it includes root beer; sometimes it includes real beer. Either way, it’s a chance for us to relax, and enjoy each other and friends.
This Friday was a little different. I asked all of my Juniors- the ones taking “The Block” class of three classes morphed together- Educational Psychology, Intro to Special Ed and Special Ed Law- to bring their kids to the College. I ordered pizza, and they conducted “the” experiments that Piaget developed 100 years ago to describe how kids think differently at different ages. You might remember Preoperational, Concrete Operational, Formal Operational, etc. from Intro to Psychology. Those experiments. The ones developed by, as students around here say, “Pig-It”.
It’s important that they understand this. It’s important that as they become elementary teachers or special education teachers that they really and truly understand why kids act differently at different ages; what “delayed” really means; why typical kids in third grade love mysteries and magic shows and why typical preschoolers and children who are delayed talk about something that happened “yesterday” when it happened four months ago. Why understanding a good Knock-knock joke is a leap of development.
And so all of my students, their own children, and their babysittees and their friends’ children-and my children- came to the College this Friday night for two hours to eat pizza and to go through the classic Piaget experiments. The look of amazement on one student’s face as she said “He answered just what Piaget said he would!” was priceless. They all talked about how “real” it was; how they had just read it, but now understood it.
Perhaps the funniest element was Ray. As we were racing around at home before we went, he came out of his room with a plain white t-shirt that we had gotten as part of a set for tie-dying purposes last year. He had written on it in permanent marker “Teachrs Rule” and decorated it with hearts and peace symbols. He was so proud of himself that he was helping the “baby teachers learn to teach” that I just didn’t have the heart to point out the mistake. He was responsible for changing the YouTube cartoons for the little ones and he was happy. Elizabeth was following the toddlers around to make sure they were all right and she was happy. James got to float around and take pictures and he was happy. And Emily got to socialize with lots of new children and she was happy. It all went smoothly, I know that my students learned it- really learned it- and I am happy. All are happy in the household this Friday night!
Next week, Friday Night Pizza Night is at our house. Come on by if you’re around! Pizza Friday Nights tend to make us happy…