Travis Rips the Photo

Delivery Method: 

The video begins when Travis jumps high from a log in the room to touch a picture hanging from the ceiling. He is quite proud of this physical feat, and the teacher, although concerned about the fragile photo, wants him to feel the full joy of his success. So by degrees she suggests that Travis think about what might happen to the photo. She shifts his attention from his jump to the photo, pointing out that it is now swinging, thinking he might consider the possibility that it could tear. He does not pick up on this indirect hint; so the teacher adds on his next jump, “Look how much it is swinging. I hope it doesn’t break.” She could have just said, “Don’t break it Travis.” Instead, she chooses her words carefully, giving Travis every opportunity to think things through himself. Indeed, she turns the hard thinking over to Travis on almost every choice point. Following are other examples of her thoughtful choice of words.

When the photo rips, Travis asks, “How can we fix it?” The teacher says, “I don’t know. What should we do?” When Travis suggests a hammer, the teacher flows with this and suggests they find Mr. Pat who has a hammer. Even though the teacher would love to be there when Travis holds the hammer and the torn picture, she flows with his desire to repair the photo at home (but she wants his parents to be open to Travis’s experiment, so she reminds Travis to suggest to his mom that they use a hammer). The teacher asks Travis to figure out a way to keep the photo safe. He suggests putting it into a bag. She wants Travis to tell her why he gives her the bag with the photo. She reminds Travis that she will not be at home, so he needs to tell her what he is going to do. He suggests a hammer, a screwdriver, and a screw. And there is the delightful exchange about how his mother will feel when she sees the ripped photograph. Travis thinks that his mother will be sad (perhaps he means disappointed in Travis). The teacher asks him to think more deeply about the situation because, after all, Travis is taking the responsible route of repairing what he ripped.

“I wonder if your mom will be sad because you ripped the picture, or happy because you are trying to fix it,” the teacher says. Notice the brightness of his face upon hearing the second possibility. One might think that holding opposite perspectives on a singular event would be too difficult for a young child to process. However, at the end of the clip you hear Travis himself express both possibilities. Of course, this more positive ending to ripping the photo could not have happened had the teacher denied Travis the agency to solve the problem, and more than that, the choice to solve the problem at home. And notice that the teacher is keen to distinguish “because you are trying to fix it” from “because you are fixing it,” knowing that his intention merits praise even if a hammer, screw driver, and screw are not going to help. We try what we know and learn if allowed to try.

The folder you download upon purchase of this title will include a high resolution video clip of Travis Rips the Photo, a text file with the comments printed above, and a text file of all the comments of the teacher that gives Travis the agency to think on his own.
Length of stand-alone master video clip: 5 minutes 20 seconds