Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Reflections on the First Day

Wow... day one is over, and it flew by!

I have to say, I was really concerned, between parents finding out that their main teacher would only be there in the mornings, and some parents discovering their child had the same teacher as last year (though I hoped it wouldn't be a problem, it was still a question in my mind).

It was a great day! I decided to dive right into Math, and the very first thing we did was sort out some flyers that were to go home with students today. I gave piles to each table, and each student was responsible for counting out the right amount of flyers for each classroom, based on the numbers I had. But wait! What happens if new students arrived in some classes, after I had already done the count? We had better add two more, just in case!

But I bet some of these teachers won't realize how smart our grade two class really is, and they'll be worried we haven't counted correctly. How can we prove that we got the right count more easily? "Organize in groups of ten!" said one student! PERFECT! Exactly what I wanted!

So off they went, to put paper clips around groups of ten. Then we made a quick chart for how many packs we had for each classroom, and how many loose. Some students made the connection, while some had trouble... but they were all excited! It was authentic learning at its best! I look forward to doing more Math investigations like this as the year goes on.

If I was to improve this idea, I would spread the investigation out over several days... I felt rushed, as I wanted to make sure these flyers got out today, and while we made some great discoveries, it could have been so much better had I given it the time it deserved.

After a project like this, I really look forward to the rest of the year!


  1. Great idea David. I bet the students really enjoyed this activity. It gave them ownership and allowed them to think about a strategy they could use to help them solve the problem.

    I did the same thing several year in a row where they were in charge of counting out the newsletters every two weeks. The kids loved it. Helped them with organizing and listening to one another. Did you have the kids check each others bundles? You might want to consider that the next time. Mine put a happy face on the sticky when it matched.

    Thanks for sharing. Have a terrific second day.

  2. David,

    It was wise getting your student involved in an active problem solving experience right off. Setting it up to encourage collaboration is a great idea that should pervade all your lessons. All mathematics can be taught through problem solving!
    Mathlearn on twitter
    Grayson Wheatley (ghwheatley@aol.com)

  3. Thanks April and Grayson!

    They really did love it, and it worked out so well! I can't wait to continue on! April, I sort of had kids check each others bundles... we did that as a whole class activity. Like I said, I think this could easily have been a full week activity, but unfortunately, I crammed it into one day. I would love the chance to have more small group checking.

    By the way, Grayson, I read your book, Coming to Know Number, over the summer, and it was excellent! Had the students make up their own Math games as I watched to see what kind of Math they would use... they used several of the materials from the back of your book. I'm looking forward to using those more and more as the year progresses!