Yesterday we finished our second week of teaching. Teaching math has become such a joy which is a complete change to how I felt during the first week (when it was stress inducing and I was feeling very insecure about my own math knowledge). Lunch was added to the daily schedule so we now have 30 minutes for math (after lots of sugary snacks and the consequent sugar crash). This has made me love and appreciate my role as their math teacher and combined it with “math actress” and general entertainer. It’s definitely the Math Show in Room 304 with Ms. Q which is really fun for me because I remember LOVING Bill Nye the Science Guy as well as Ms. Frizzle’s Magic School Bus.
During my first few days I can honestly say that I felt frustrated with the idea that we are asking second graders to explicitly state the numerous ways that they can add 9+8. As a class we had a difficult time articulating the making tens strategy (add 1 to 9, then subtract 1 from 8, add 10+7) and the doubles plus 1 strategy (turn 9 into 1+8, then add your 8+8 and then add the 1).
It wasn’t until working with a fellow math teacher who put together a fun activity for teaching fact families that I realized I was underestimating my students’ ability to engage in an interactive, moving around the room activity and still learn. I am not proud of this and it turned around my thinking about how I let their scores on the diagnostic assessment inform my understanding of their math knowledge.
Since the extremely fun fact families project – students achieved the highest mastery of any objective to that point – I have added an activity where students are moving and interacting with each other to every lesson. This has been SO much fun and brought so much joy to our classroom. There is nothing more rewarding about working with kids than to hear their giggles and later know that they translated into content mastery. We learned the commutative property (and what commuting means) by taking the subway and bus to an imaginary party; we learned the associative property by trying on Ms. Q’s college winter gear because Colgate is in upstate New York; on Monday we are going to do math review with a showdown game and all the students will have mini chalkboards and work in teams (candy will abound).
In other news, I was able to connect my story of self to my kids and adapt it into an age appropriate anecdote for my students. They were so captivated to hear about what I was like as a second grader and I just wanted to capture the value add of this activity in the classroom. In closing, here is the most adorable note ever that we got from one of our students.
Until next week!