Drawing "Circles Within Circles"

Delivery Method: 

Jed is visiting a preschool classroom, hoping to videotape some of the children’s investigations. Three-year-old Christopher wants to draw and invites Jed to come draw with him. A series of subtle but careful choices allow Jed to become Christopher’s learning partner. We see how Jed skillfully reads Christopher’s interests in order to co-construct an understanding of drawing “circles inside circles.” "Inside" can be treated as a relative term. Drawing a surrounding outside circle makes the smaller one inside. Drawing a still larger outside circle now makes the middle-sized circle the inside circle. How strange—how can one circle be both inside and outside? Watch how Jed and Christopher take turns drawing circles sometimes outside another, sometime inside another. The games we play with children help children move from naming objects to relating objects. These games eventually help children understand that words often do not refer to a single object. For example, if you curl your fingers to form a fist and then splay your fingers out flat, children will laugh when asked, "Where did my fist go?" Children will understand that "fist" is an action, not an "object."

Keywords: Threes, Markers, Teaching, Child-Teacher, Spatial Relations, Inside/Outside, Co-Construction, videative

Length of videative: 13 paragraphs, 10 video subclips
Length of stand-alone master video clip: 1 minute, 5 seconds