So... I have decided to take on the blog challenge which means that I write about a different topic each week that is posted on our blog. Since I missed last week I am just going to do an all-in-one kind of blog this week. I will start with the class poll. Asked my student who was their favorite author. No surprise - Mary Pope Osborne won by a landslide with 10 out of 13 students voting for her as their favorite. My students can't get enough of those Magic Tree House books. It is so crazy to think that last year when I had a combo class of 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders that not one of my students chose those books. they often called them primary, but now that I am teaching 3rd grade only my students love them. Trying to get them to read something else is like pulling teeth. So, I would find it very interesting if they did a study to find out if 3rd graders in a multi-aged setting feel intimidated by the other students. Are multi-age classes a good or a bad thing. Another thing that I have noticed this year is that I am having behavior issues with some of the 3rd graders but in a multi-aged setting you find that there are no behavior issues with the 3rd graders and very few of the 4th graders. 5th graders rule! Would love to hear anyone's thoughts about this.
Okay so back to my second topic - all about math. I talked last time about how I was a struggling reader. I have a little bit more of a happy story when it comes to math. Let's just say without my math skills and my higher testing in math, I may have never made it to college because my reading scores were burying me fast. But, do I consider myself a mathematician? No. I can say that I always loved math and that it came easy to me, especially when it came to number crunching and equations. I can honestly say that if I would have grown up with the math series that we are teaching with now I probably would have hated math because it is all based on reading! Is it really fair to take away kids love for a subject by making it almost impossible for them to do it? I mean students are already being tested in reading and I understand the need for critical thinking skills, but everything is now critical thinking skills. All those students who are good in math, but are struggling readers, are now struggling in math too. I fear they will hate school, if they don't find anything where they excel. I think that is why it is so important that as teachers we continually point out students' strengths and find things that they are good at.
With so much emphasis on reading these days it is also important as teachers that we are teaching reading strategies to our students as early as we possibly can so that they have time to learn and practice the skills so that they can be successful in all areas.
Back to math- I can say that there is a lot of things that we learn in math that I have never used as an adult. But, I can also say that I use basic math skills everyday. In fact my ability to crunch numbers comes as more of a burden than a good thing as an adult. Now instead of enjoying the money that I make I just stress about the money that I don't have... which leads to no sleep! If money only grew on trees! Well I'll leave you with this - may each day and its challenges come as a blessing and not a burden.