I need money for a taco truck

Sometimes I sit back at the end of a week and I can’t remember what even happened! That’s one of the reasons I’m enjoying my weekly reflections this year. It reminds me to sift through the feelings and find something positive. It’s easy to wallow in the discouragement of a busy week. I know I’m not the only educator who ends a week thinking, “That did not go as planned!” Or “I’m basically a failure and I’m wasting everyone’s time! Or “I wonder if it’s too late to trade this all in and buy a taco truck.” I mean, how many bad days can a taco truck operator actually have? I bet a taco truck driver never goes home feeling like a failure!

This week we talked about money. We finished the week being able to identify every Canadian coin and it’s value. We know why we need the cent sign and dollar sign. We even counted money quite successfully. We were not incredibly successful completing some math work sheets but everyone does understand that a horizontal math question and a stacked math question are asking us to figure out the same thing. That’s big learning for some kids. And we sang “Canada in My Pocket” a lot (though less than I would have liked.)

So yeah…clearly I was not a failure as a teacher. Nothing really exciting happened. Nothing made we want to rush home and blog. I don’t have any photos of our week. But we still had a successful week. Not a very exciting week, but, yeah, successful.

I’m thinking, however, that if I’m kind of bored with math (I didn’t even title my reflection last week!) then chances are other people are bored with it too.  This week we are moving on to some 2D and 3D geometry.  Or we might move on to area.  In the math long-range plan I am following shapes are up next, but I’m at a different place than I though I’d be at this point, so I might do area first.  Geometry fits nicely with the holidays because there are a lot of crafty projects we can do with our shapes.  Every day between December 1 and the last day before Winter Break gets harder and harder, and crafty math helps us get through. Plus we can talk about snowflakes a lot, and there is a lot of geometry in snow flakes.

Sounds like I’ve talked myself into area first.  Maybe we can figure out the area of the perfectly sized tortilla for my taco truck business.


I don’t know what to call this

I’ve started writing a reflection on my week a few times now and then think, “I don’t know what happened in math this week!”  It’s not exactly true. If I really concentrate, I can remember, and even make some assessments about our week. In fact, I did that as I was planning for next week.

However, there are bigger things going on in my class this week that take the forefront in my mind. We had some successes with some behaviour management systems. We had some tears when kids were told they were moving to another class because our class was too full (tears from the leavers, and the stayers!) We were excited about our worms. We did some art. And we really practised walking down the hall when I had anticipated practising counting and sorting the doors in our school. 

So, our math lessons this week we’re not a huge spectacular wonderful set of lessons I want to blog about. Math was good. Math was fun. And I learned a whole lot about my learners. However, there was just a lot more going on this week that is on my mind.

I was at the grocery store this afternoon. There was a man whistling a beautiful tune. Everywhere I went I could hear him.  I could even hear him when he was a few aisles over from me. At one point our paths crossed and he smiled and said, “Excuse moi.” I answered in English, “No problem.”  But as I walked away I realized I knew how to answer him in French. I know how to respond to him in the language he had used to speak to me. And yet I did not naturally do that. I had answered him in English before I even register that he was speaking to me in French and I could answer him in French.

That is where I am with my math teaching on this Saturday. I am naturally thinking about all the obvious big successes that we had that were indirectly related to our math. Everything we did is improving our math classes, and our classroom community, and is therefore important. It is just that the math is not naturally at the forefront of my mind today.

I am diving into one of the Young Mathematicians at Work units this next week. I should have more to write about then. But the truth is teaching is all a juggling act both in the doing and the thinking.  There are so many decisions to be made. I can never just concentrate on curriculum decisions. I have to also think about decisions that affect my students socially, emotionally, and in their physical well-being. 

So, in summary, I taught math this week. It was good. I’ll teach it again next week.