I love the opportunities to spend informal, conversational time with my students. I often find that time on our walk to the garden. It’s a longish walk and away from the classrooms, so some conversation doesn’t disturb anyone. I made the walk with students four times today…twice going there and twice coming back (with my class split in half–the other half was in the classroom with my co-teacher).
On my final walk back to the classroom I was bringing up the rear with some second grade girls in my class. As I listened in to their conversation, I noticed that they were talking about math and creating math stories that included elements of the garden. When they noticed me listening they let me know that they were planning a “math playdate.” A math playdate! What an amazing idea! They had made a case to their parents that they needed this playdate…with a math focus. They had planned that the mom at the house they were going to would write up some math problems for them to solve and they would create their own math story problems (like the one I overheard). We talked about whether they would include some of the other strategies we use in the classroom–like the way I pose problems, “If the answer is 15, what is the question?”
Honestly, this conversation surprised me. These are not my confident, competitive math students (yes, I have a few of those!). These are my pretty quiet, but definitely competent girls. I work hard to make math fun in the classroom. We play around with numbers and math concepts daily, with an emphasis on explaining thinking and problem solving. We look for multiple approaches to solving problems and take time to learn from our mistakes. Learning that these students see math as a fun way to spend their time together delights me!
I got to harvest more than pumpkins today! As teachers, we never know when those seeds will germinate and grow and blossom. What seeds did you plant to today?