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The Rainbow Clock

Updated: Apr 12, 2022

Integrated approaches to teaching and learning recognise children are capable of driving learning on their own.  Therefore, the adults role is to listen and be responsive in ways that stimulate and stretch those occasions.  This learning story demonstrates the value of the interconnecting relationship of child driven learning and adult responsiveness.


Today you approached me Caleb and said “Let’s make a rainbow clock for the fish”.

I was intrigued about this idea and before I could ask you a question you quickly followed by saying:

“We need one that can have a battery so the pieces move”

“The clock has to be rainbow and go up to 14”

“How will we make it move”

“I think I’ll need 2 batteries”

Without taking a breath all your thinking was coming out!  I knew we had a project on our hands and you were going to drive this!  With so many possibilities before you I wondered where you would start.

Hearing these very definite ideas emerge, I was quickly swept up into the many possibilities and prompted you to tell me more about the clock you wanted to construct.  You were working at such a fast pace though, you quickly launched into telling me exactly what you needed:

  1. “I’ll get the Paper and draw it”

  2. “Can you get me all the colours, they need to be rainbow”

  3. “Can you show me the numbers”

I could sense your excitement and energy as we both went about gathering what was needed. You spent lots of time concentrating on writing your numbers.

 “2, 4 and 5 are tricky ones”.

You would look at me asking “does this look like a good number 2” to which I would encourage you to self-assess your work by saying “are you happy with your number 2?” On occasion, you would cross out your attempt and try another. I was really pleased to see you doing this Caleb as in the past I had noticed you would throw out work you were not satisfied with and start again.

I personally love seeing how you have left traces of your effort and persistence on your work. Your marks leave a reminder of what it means to keep trying.

Next came the rainbow colours you requested. You have always loved rainbows Caleb and often dazzle your work with a little bit of sparkly. So with all the colours laid out in front of you you were quick to notice there was no orange. I wondered out loud how we might make this colour? After some attempts to mix various colours I offered you a colour wheel to support your investigation.

We enjoyed having a good mix up for a while and playing around with all the colours. After some experimentation, you decided “2 blobs of yellow and two blobs of red make a shiny orange”.

I was still wondering why you had decided that the fish needed a clock but could sense your full attention on the task at hand.  We both managed to develop the clock hands, measuring them to make sure one was small and the other was longer.  Whilst we couldn’t manage a battery pack on your clock I offered a split pin which you felt would do the job until we could ‘buy one with batteries another day’.

Once completed you were able to put the clock in place….for the fish.  Tucking in behind the tank you stood back and watched the fish.  I wonder what response you were waiting for?  We both noticed that the fish were swimming closer to the clock, to the back of the tank. 

“I think they like the clock I made them” to which I knew was just the right time to ask “why was it that you wanted to give the fish a rainbow clock?”

“Cause it’s nice to see rainbows”

My thoughts on your learning?

Caleb you get such fabulous ideas and your enthusiasm to get started often creates a strong sense of urgency that it is difficult not to get caught up in.  This project was one amongst many where your ability to make a plan and execute it is evident.  This takes real skill Caleb and your creativity should be commended.  I love how you chose for your clock to go to 14, I wonder what made you want to do this? Perhaps to have an original clock, not simply one that goes to 12, that is so traditional after all!

You have reminded me of the importance to appreciate the beauty around us, just as the fish show their appreciation of your rainbow clock, I too appreciate your enthusiastic approach to bringing life to your ideas!

I look forward to sharing in your next project.  I wonder what this might be?


Victorian Early Years Learning & Development Framework (VEYLDF) 

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