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how is this the same as that?

Wed August 18 2010

can you tell september is coming in the house of a teacher?!

i’m not a big mathymath person (…wipes eyes from tears of laughter… my brain cannot conjure that  image!) but i am a candlelight-dinner-and-odes-to-the-one-i-love sort of lover of instructional strategies no matter what the subject, so i did actually truly have fun and learned an incredible lot myself last year when we delved into the world of numeracy as coaches.  i think if ANY of my math lessons as a child had been in any small way like the teaching and learning of mathematics in the way that Dr. Marian Small suggests, i would have liked it a whole lot more and felt more successful at it. i was fortunate enough to be able to attend a PD session by Dr. Small last year, and i love math like this. who knew.

so the story goes, as i was digging and flipping and looking for some other important papers kept so carefully in a packing box sommmewhere (ahem…) i came across my notebook from work last year.  i did not allow myself to look too closely (or i would still be there, and plus my whole thought process naturally is like a hidden non-sequitur so i hardly need more stimulation), but as the chunks of pages turned this leapt out at me from the moleskine pages in its turquoise ink. and since i hear that there’s no time like the present, i scribbled it on a paper for my eight year old and sent her off to figure something out. how’d we do?!

so here’s what this kid of mine figured out, 15 minutes at the dining room table together

i kind of pushed a little to get her to represent her ideas in another way to help me understand her thinking, which brought us to the idea of drawing something. i gave her two squares of notepaper, one for each statement:

and THEN i asked her to explain “how you know you are right” – i’m pretty sure she’s still bewildered over that (her initial response being, “it just seems right to me”), but there’s a first time for everything, here’s what we got:

you can see some added-on clarifications that came out of our talking together, and i like that.  i like especially that being part of the process with her helps me interpret her representations, reminding me that so much of the learning in the classroom is in the action, and the paper trail does not always tell us enough of the story.

so yes, we talked more after this and i pushypushed a little more (having a teacher as a mom is so uncool and clearly annoyingly obnoxious) and we ended up with a little consolidation and big idea talking where i tried to put what she just worked through into some conventional math language, but truthfully, she’d had enough of me by then 😉  i know that *i* had fun. i hope to sneak some good questions into other good days.

you need this, or your child’s teacher needs this:

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