Teaching is Hard!

This past week was a challenging one. We’re struggling with the return to school – struggle I thought would be long past by now. It’s been hard to move forward in math (and everything else) but move forward we must! So how, I wonder, can I meet everybody’s social-emotional needs, physical needs, and academic needs?

We’ve worked for two weeks on making patterns with math manipulatives. I don’t remember ever needing to teach this before. Usually everyone arrives with this basic math skill. This year they are even struggling with chanting the skip counting patterns. We aren’t anywhere near being able to talk deeply about number patterns.

So I gave everyone an academic break on Friday and we made beaded bracelets. This type of activity is fun, and it really motivates everyone to do some social emotional work. They had to make a pattern, politely ask a neighbour (or me) for certain beads, string them all on the elastic cord (which can be tricky & requires perseverance), and deal with the frustration of dropping beads. It was fun, and taught them a lot. Communication and resilience are two really important math skills.

This week I’m moving forward. We’ll do some counting routines every day for Number Talks, but our focus is going to shift to measuring. We really need to start moving toward understanding number lines, so I want them all using rulers and measuring tape this week.