Tuesday, February 5, 2008

venn vill i learn?

We here in the lilypotterknits household are all about teachable moments. These are those little, unplanned instances when a child sees or does something that the parents can turn into a learning opportunity. A teachable moment might occur when you and your child are cruising downtown and you see a prostitute on the corner and you take the opportunity to point out to your daughter all the problems inherent with prostitution... especially on a low-traffic corner like that. Or you might be at a bank one day where you witness a robbery and you take the opportunity to tell your son how bank robbery is wrong... mainly because it's so easy to get caught, unlike stealing someone's identity online, which is virtually untraceable. I'm sure you've had a million teachable moments in your life, and my husband and I like to jump on these opportunities when our children present them to us and beat the living crap out of them. (The moment, not the kid. Really.)

Anyway, over the weekend, Big Sister and I were playing her I Spy Board Game, and I noticed that one board was made up of Venn Diagrams. A Venn Diagram, in case you're not familiar, is used to compare and contrast things in a clear, easy-to-understand way. It's made up of two (or more) overlapping circles and each circle represents one of the things you want to compare. Where the circles overlap, you put attributes that the things have in common, and where they don't overlap, you put attributes specific to only one of the things. It sounds more confusing than it really is, so here's an example to make it more clear.

The circle on the left represents the profession "Bank Robber" and that circle says the job comes with the possibilty of getting arrested, you have to wear a creepy mask, you make good money and it's technically illegal. The circle on the right, which represents the career of "Prostitute", says there's the possibility of getting infected, you have to wear creepy makeup, you make good money and it's technically illegal, but since both can make good money and are technically illegal, you only write those things once where the circles overlap. Get it? Okay, enough explanation. Back to the story. Really quick, though, I'd like to point out I did not use this particular example with my daughter. I'm not that into teachable moments. Yet. Really now, back to what I was saying...

I noticed Big Sister's I Spy Game had Venn Diagrams on it, so I showed her the board and told her I thought the circles seemed to organize the toys into groups and maybe we could figure out together what each circle had in common. We worked for awhile, discussing the circles and their objects and I'll admit I was feeling pretty good about capitalizing on this particular teachable moment. After we were done, I explained to her that the circles made up something called a Venn Diagram and that we could do the same with words and would she like to try making one about her and her brother? She was excited to try, and so we did. (Damn, I am good at this.) THEN, I told her you could make Venn Diagrams with more than two circles (Seriously, you are so jealous of my educational prowess.) and we made one of the three Pirates of the Carribbean movies, which are her favorites right now. (Ignore that fact when you're marvelling at how good I am at this mothering thing, but really she needs to know how hot Johnny Depp is. That should totally be a subject in school.) She seemed to have a pretty good grasp of Venn Diagrams at this point, so I decided to proceed to the next step and let her try one on her own while I sat back and basked in my awesomeness. This is what she came up with:

I have no idea why there's a diagram for 1/2 on there, but at least she got it right!

Let me interpret. Her dad apparently farts too much (no argument there), and the kids rule. As for me, the wonderful Mom who had just spent all that quality time with her, teaching her about Venn Diagrams in a true, meaningful way that she surely appreciates? I am "too annoying."

Care to guess how I felt at this point?

On the bright side, at least she'll be able to convey her feelings in a clear, easy-to-understand way when she goes on Oprah to complain about me and my pissy, grumpy, tired, overbearing annoying self.