Sunday, July 3, 2011

Think Out Loud

I've been absolutely swamped over the past couple of weeks with moving the family to a new house and with a sudden influx of work. I did spend time with the boys, but I haven't been able to blog about it until now. 

As I was working on stuff around the old/new house fixing things, I started talking out loud my thoughts whenever the boys came by checking out the stuff I was doing. I also got them involved in a few interesting little projects like building a new 3x3 shelf unit out of old wire mesh squares and tie wraps. 

The "thinking out loud" felt like a great dadly technique, even if the kids didn't necessarily appreciate it as much. Also, it was NOT as easy as I thought it should be. However, after a couple of weekends worth of trying, it got easier. 

Some honey-do projects are quite simple: "If I put the unused closet door behind the shelf in the garage, it will take up the least amount of space. And, the shelf will protect to door from getting damaged." 

Other projects are more complicated: "The lock that just broke is an older design that is no longer made, but the design matches all of the other hardware on the door. I might be able to buy a new lock made by the same manufacturer and take the inside parts to fix the broken one… (later) The inside parts of the new lock are completely different. See, the screw holes are different size and in different locations… I could probably drill and tap (make screws), but the linkages are also different. It is probably better to temporarily use the new hardware as-is and contact the manufacturer to see if I can buy just the broken parts." 

Kids showed varying degrees of interest in my thinking out loud about working on real problems. But, when I started thinking out loud while playing strategy board games, they found this really interesting. 

"If I move the knight over here, the white bishop will probably attack my rook that the knight no longer protects. Then, the queen can move to this other spot that the white bishop no longer protects for the checkmate." 

The cool thing is that by the end of each game, I could notice an improvement in their level of skill. Maybe thinking can be contagious!