M.F.'s mom came in this morning but M.F. did not following her in. I said greeted M.F. but he did not respond. He stumbled into the room with a displeased look on his face. His body language told me that he was upset. Something was wrong. M.F. didn't go to any table activity and he didn't eat breakfast. He didn't speak to any of his friends and just sat alone at the light table looking very sad.
I asked M.F. what was wrong. M.F. is the type of child that shuts down when something doesn't go his way. Therefore, I wasn't surprised when he didn't respond or answer my question. I told him to come with me to work on a thinking map to figure out what was wrong. As the other children ate breakfast, M.F. and I sat down and used a multi flow map to figure out what caused him to feel sad.
In the middle, there was a square with the sentences, "M.F. is sad." I told him what I noticed happened when he came in sad. On the right side, I wrote things that occurred in result of his sadness. The left side of the map was blank. I stated that I did not know what caused M.F. to be sad, and he would have to help me fill in what happened to make him sad this morning.
It was time to start the morning routine, so I told M.F. that we would have to come back to our map afterwards. As the other children were sent off in their centers, we transferred our rough draft thinking map into a larger sheet. I had M.F. draw pictures under the effects of his sadness. Then came the important part...figuring out what caused him to be sad.
Asking M.F. first would get me nowhere. I asked M.F. to draw what made him upset instead. As he worked on his drawing, I began asking. This first thing he said when I asked what he drew was "I sick." This was an understandable reason why someone would feel upset.
I probed him to draw more. His second cause of his sadness started off as a picture of a castle. I wasn't sure why a castle would make him feel sad. Then he began to open up and tell me more.
From what I understood, M.F. had been making a castle at home in the morning. His play was stopped short because he had to go to school. M.F. is one that is very engaged during play. When something interferes with his play, M.F. will get upset and it will affect his mood substantially. Making the thinking map was therapeutic for M.F.. He began to cheer up as he drew his pictures and reflected on the morning incident. It was also a useful tool to help me find out what was bothering one of my students.