Today I had to go over a lesson on converting repeating decimals to fractions. The textbook has us doing this in the first week, but my 8th graders needed to be eased into doing math this year. Most of them were in math classes last year that were staffed by subs due to staff leaving mid-year. So not only do they have insecurities about math, but now those insecurities are compounded by real gaps.
My PLC team talked about the lesson, the other three members said it was too difficult to teach this and just give them a short cut. I scoured the internet for some shortcut, but there really isn’t one. So with a big smile on my face and overconfidence. I gave them the handout and told them we were going to do this together step by step.
The students in Period 2 began complaining–This is too hard, too many steps, it’s confusing, I can never do this, I’m bad at math, etc. But I kept smiling and said, No, you haven’t learned this yet or had a chance to practice. After 3 problems together, I gave them one on their own…Half the class was right. I did one more example, then I heard the words that every teacher wants to hear. “This is Easy” ” I am really good at this” ” I can’t believe how simple math is” ” Can we do more, I love this”. Every single student had the right answer. I thought it was a trick. Do they really get it? I gave them another problem. Yes, they really got it.
And the rest of the classes today were the same. Some of the students who had never felt successful in math class before were smiling and proud of themselves. I did not have one student who left confused….Yes, it was a good thing…and a miracle.