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Surprise in the Middle


Direction-following with a surprising twist. Students follow oral instructions to make marks on their papers. Then you tell them they've really begun a drawing they never would have imagined. Careful listening leads to a delightful reward.

The element of surprise can be a wonderful thing. In this book, it is the motivational tool for getting children to listen carefully.

Each activity begins with a set of oral directions telling students to make certain marks on their paper.

Midway through the activity, you get to say, "Surprise! You have just started a drawing of …" and those seemingly random marks have led children into a drawing they hadn't dreamed of making.

When you think about it, this isn't easy. The instructions must be quite precise in order to allow for a successful final product. And, most importantly, kids must listen very carefully.

The end part—when children get to finish their drawings—is the reward. That's when kids get to depart from the structure that has been presented and use their own ideas and decisions to finish the drawings.

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