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Friday, September 22, 2006

Odds, Ends and the SoapBox...

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After last week's hell hole in the 6th grade, it was a relief to finish off a three day run in the lower grades. Second, third and forth grades to be exact. While there is nothing of great import to report, we do have these few odds and ends:

1) One kid learns why it’s not a great idea to stash his juice box in the BOTTOM of his book bag loaded with 30lbs of books.

2) One teacher’s lesson plan was evidentially copy, pasted, edited but not proofread for today’s class as the lunch helpers were listed to go help the lunch servers an hour AFTER the kids lunch time. Also the indicated plan entry “Explain the ‘Akiak’ packet pg 30-31” wasn’t done because the packet had only 15 pages to date. The kids had already completed the packet to date and there were no additional pages 30&31 to hand out.

3) I was chastised by a 2nd grader after telling the girls at the back table to sit down and pay attention. “I’m NOT a girl” said the cute little waif with the dark braid down the back to “his” waist. This isn’t the first time I’ve had this apparent inability to determine gender based on appearance.

4) The 2nd grade journal writing project: “Pretend you are a scarecrow. What do you look like? Who do you talk to all day? What do you do all day?”

The “Columbine Kid” at the back table, dressed all in black, baby “bling” neck chains and an abnormally black spiky haircut writes: “I’d have knives for fingers and I’d slash and kill, kill, kill the farmer and the kids and blow up the corn field and barn and …”

You get the idea.

This one gets a special extra comment in my “sub report” to the teacher to proof read this journal for today.

5) SOAPBOX:

Teaching “estimating the answer” as part of 2nd grade “Math” makes absolutely NO sense to me at all. They don’t get it. They told me so every time I tried to show how to get the “estimated answer” which isn’t the “real answer”.

Repeat after me: “Round the numbers then add to get the estimate”.

They know how to round numbers; they know how to add numbers. They know how to get the correct “estimate”. But, as they continually pointed out, “Why are we doing this? Can’t we just add the numbers and get the right answer?”

What could I say? I whole heartily agree. But it’s in the “State of Calif. approved Grade 2 Math Book” lesson for today.

For the record, the teachers in the staff lounge agree. Save it for later when it matters, like Geometry, Algebra or Calculus class where “estimating to check the answer for reasonableness” is a useful talent.

But there are assessment tests later this year where they check to see if the know how to get “almost the right answer”.

Math at the elementary level is an exact science. There is only ONE correct answer to addition and subtraction problems!!

4 comments:

Fred said...

I could never teach elementary school. It requires too much patience.

The MAN Fan Club said...

Good to know kids are the same all over the country. I get worn out by 5 or more kids asking me where to turn something in when I stood in front of the class and physically showed them where to turn something in.

AprilMay said...

I teach 2nd grade, and the estimation lessons in math make me want to rip off my face. One time, I just told them to GO AHEAD AND ADD IT UP.

Lady Strathconn said...

I teach 2nd grade Literacy. They are the same here in Vermont.

I had the same kid come up to me 3 times to ask how to do a work page, rather than read the directions.