Starting small: First, build a foundation for knowledge!

Same/different is a concept that many individuals, as children, come to understand simply from living and responding to stimuli in their environment, and that others come to understand only after being explicitly trained in determining similar and differentiating features.  Brainjogging spent many weeks reviewing same/different with one particular child.  We threw questions about things being the same or different into almost every lesson – and then, when the child finally grasped the idea of things being “twins” or looking alike and other things not looking alike, we threw a wrench in the gears: we began showing the child objects of the same color but different shapes, or of the same shapes but in different colors.  This was not initially well-received by the student.

Yesterday, however, she held up two Silly Bandz to me.  “Miss Sellers, are these same, or different?”

I looked at the proffered objects: a yellow dinosaur shape (a brontosaurus, perhaps?) and a yellow (and slightly troglodytic) giraffe.  I chose my words carefully, so as to provide the student with a deliberate and, I hoped, comprehensible answer, “They are different shapes.”

The child laughed, “Silly Miss Sellers!  Same color, different shape!” She gleefully slipped both Silly Bandz onto her wrists and carried on doing her take away math.

This was, for me, the “aha!” moment of the day.

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