A few weeks ago, I brought up negative numbers in my 4th Grade class. I framed this in terms of “giving kids permission” to bring up negatives in class.
Yesterday a couple of 4th Graders asked, “Wait can you multiply by a negative?”
Any guesses as to what prompted this question?
Kids had been working on a multiplication puzzle and (accidentally) gotten themselves into a position where they needed to solve ___ x 20 = 10. If positive numbers make multiplication bigger, then shouldn’t negative multiplication make things smaller?
This is very smart and interesting, and that’s all I have to say about that.
On a totally different note, there’s a dead pigeon right outside the window of my 9th Grade class. It’s becoming a distraction. (“Someone should really call animal control.”)
I was trying to talk about congruence and stuff and kids started getting fascinated and freaked out by the dead bird. So I climbed up on the window sill (there’s no draw string) to pull the shade down. And then the whole curtain contraption got ripped off the wall and missed a few kids’ head by an inch.
I get reminded about this daily. And I still haven’t called anyone about the bird.
I made a commitment this year to work on the relational side of teaching. To an extent, I am, but I’m realizing that it’s been entirely haphazard. Is there a way to be more systematic about this?
Another question: working on curriculum and learning can be serious intellectual work. Can working on relationships be serious intellectual work? How?
I was going to work on fractions in 4th Grade yesterday, but the multiplication practice that my kids dug into swallowed them up for the whole period. They loved it! (It was from these books.)
Multiplication practice can be fun for kids.
Then again, I’ve been trying to get one of my Geometry classes to work on flowchart proofs and that is a slog. I’d love for them to get great at this, but it looks like we’re going to move on without having everyone on board.
Sometimes skills practice sucks, and sometimes it doesn’t.