Crackle from Sophia the First) and other animals imagined on the chairs (like Stitch from Lilo & Stitch), distributed paper and pens to all the students, and began the lesson.
Math was the subject, with the specific math problem for the class to solve being: 3 X 7 = ?
I thought I'd help teach, so I suggested they add: 7 + 7 + 7 together.
Bryce didn't respond, already being in her imaginary world as the baby dragon learning to fly. "Tell me what to do next," she said. Beatrice on the other hand simply responded, "Daddy, we're going to do it our way."
That's when the solution became evident to Beatrice: 3 X 7 = 99. Written on every dragon student's paper.
Of course, I thought. It's whatever they want it to be when it comes to imaginative and cooperative play. Dragon school rules and all that. Multiplication tables will come soon enough, or whatever these kids learn in school today, Common Core and all.
Different cooperative scenarios manifest themselves over and over again at the B-hive homestead. The Mama usually participates more often with them throughout the week then I do, but I enjoy it when I do. It's fascinating watching them learn how to interact with one another, how to divide up the labor and work together to reach a common goal. Same goes for them in school with the classmates as well as outside activities and organized sports.
But dragons breathe fire and some can be easily angered. That's when things go to hell in a burning hand basket. Both Beatrice and Bryce get along fairly well, but as many siblings know growing up, there can be many a fire fight breaking out scorching the earth around them. Bryce can be ill-tempered at times, more so than Beatrice, but they both escalate beyond the realms of cooperative play, kicking and pummeling each other to the point of -- smack! -- somebody always gets hurt.
This is tough because we have to get them to separate their bodies and check in with one another until they're calmed down. And/or stay away from each other.
At some point this will all to turn into adult cooperative competition in the workplace and nearly every facet of modern day life. The part where they cooperate with each other to reach a higher value creation if compared to the value created without interaction and struggle to achieve competitive advantage.
In this scenario somebody (and/or somebodies collectively) definitely gets hurt, and/or gets left out. Cooperative and competitive play can and do co-exist as our children progress in school and once eventually released into the wilds of the world.
What to do when they/we breath fire at one another? Kidpower, the global nonprofit leader in personal safety and violence prevention education that the Mama works for, has some excellent ideas on how children can stay safe with their bodies (and adults too, kids) when they're angry, called Safety Signals.
The first one of note that really like is Calm Down Power.
“Everyone, squeeze the palms of your hands together, like this.” (Put your palms together, not in a praying position but crossways with your fingers on one hand pointing up and on the other pointing sideways – or with your fingers on each hand pointing towards your towards the wrists of the other hand. Then, do and say the following gestures and words and coach your students to do the same.)
“Now, everyone, straighten your backs, look at me, and take a breath in and slowly let it out again. Everyone say, ‘Calm Down Power.’ Great!”
Great indeed. Too bad we can't apply it to the rest of the adult world's unrest today. Amen for the calm down power of dragon school rules.