I don’t know why it’s so hard for me to remember to do this on a daily basis since I always have a post written in my mind! But I didn’t want to let too many days pass without sharing things.
During our Thursday number talk, we tackled 5 x 18. A lot of student shared 5 x 10 added to 5 x 8. Only one student shared 5 x 10 added to 5 x 5 added to 5 x 3. Only one student shared 5 x 12 added to 5 x 16. During my last period of seniors, I like to go through and show them the strategies I’ve seen all day. When we got to those three, one girl’s face lit up. “Oh, I see! So you could do 5 x 9 twice because 9 + 9 is 18!” It was literally a light bulb moment.
After grading my Geometry quizzes on angle relationships, I mentally patted myself on the back. Students correctly wrote the m before angle’s when they found angle measures, they put degree symbols on angle measures and not x-values, and only one student forgot to plug in for what the problem asked for.
A student made a 13.5 out of 16 on a quiz and asked to retake. Then he made a 13. So he asked to retake it again. He got am 11.5 With a sigh, he said “Well, I guess I’ll be retaking this on Monday.” Persistence!
My fourth year math class is flexible and I always ask students what they would like me to teach. They asked for help with fractions and so we did all the operations and I would not let them use a calculator. It was a struggle but for one student, she could not do simple operations in her head, let alone converting mixed numbers and improper fractions, and so forth. When I would help her, she would frequently erase the problem and ‘start over’ or repeatedly comment that she was ‘thinking too hard’, ‘confusing herself’, or ‘getting everything mixed up’. I saw this is a cover for not being able to do simple math and her frustration with herself. When I started to grade her quiz, she said “I already know I need a retake.” When I glanced and saw that every single problem was wrong, I told her she did not want me to grade it. That was the end of class and we both agreed she would try again the next day. Friday she told me her classmate had helped her and taught her how to do it in 10 minutes. “Great,” I said, “it takes everyone something to learn and sometimes it is not me.” She took it and I graded it on the spot. She only missed one! When I passed it back she said, “High five! I learned it!” So we did.