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Monday, December 9, 2013

Learning Can Be Mind Boggling

Sometimes learning can be mind boggling. I have been gathering a few stories of how the minds of our crew members have been boggled lately. Enjoy!
  • During a recent Word Work lesson, we were learning about the "ed" ending, what it means and how it works. Learning about past tense can be a bit challenging for a first grader who is just beginning to grapple with the concept of time. We explained past tense as "things that happened earlier or before now". Once we got past that, we began to talk about how the "ed" ending has 3 different sounds it makes depending on the word it is used in. For example "ed" can sound like /t/ in the words "liked" and "walked". It can sound like /d/ in words like "played" and "mailed". It can also sound like /ed/ in words like "wanted" and "planted". I truly wish that I had my iPad handy when we were doing this lesson. The looks on the faces of the crew showed complete shock. First they were surprised that there was a "past tense" to begin with and then that the suffix "ed" made so many different sounds. When the shock finally began to wear off, they enjoyed thinking of words that ended with the "ed" suffix that made the 3 different sounds. While they are beginning to understand all of these concepts, we will still have to revisit this lesson a few more times.
  • On another day during math, we were working on basic addition story problems. We were doing them orally and using mental math strategies to figure them out. At one point I noticed that most of the kids were using their fingers and a partner's fingers to count up the answers. While doing this they would say "5 plus 6, okay I will put up 5 fingers and you put up 6 fingers" then they would recount all of the fingers together. I thought that this would be a good time to review counting up as a strategy. I explained that since we knew how to "see" numbers using dots and we knew how to count by 2s, 5s and 10s, that we could use those strategies to figure out our addition problems. I showed them that they could hold up one hand and say 5 and then count up: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11. Just like in the Word Work lesson, they looked at me with shocked expressions. There were even a few gasps. I finally got them to tell me what they were thinking. They thought that because we were not just counting but doing addition problems that they had to recount every number. Even after I assured them that this was not the case I still had a few skeptics. Now many of them will use their counting and visualizing strategies to help them add but there are still a few who are reluctant. They think that they are breaking the rules if they don't recount everything.
  • While learning the names of the coins, the crew complained that the pictures on some of the coins were not always the same. While it is fascinating for adults to see all of the new pictures on the coins, it is frustrating for young children trying to learn the names of the different coins.
  • One of our new "red dot words" or sight words is "because". One crew member asked why words had to be spelled in such hard ways. Why couldn't "because" just be spelled "becuz" like it sounds? It is a good question.
  • Another thing that is hard for students to remember is whether the subtraction symbol is one line or two lines and whether the equals symbol is one line or two lines.
All of this just goes to show how hard the crew is working to learn new things and make sense of the world around them. There are so many things that we as adults just blindly accept or take for granted. When you really think about all that goes into learning things like reading, writing and math, you really understand how much our crew is actually learning each and every day.

Homework
Reading ~ Read a good book or two.
Math ~ Home Link 4.10 Number Grids


Important Dates
12/20 Fieldwork to Pacific Ocean Market and Kings Land Restaurant 
12/20 Winter Holiday Party
12/20 Last Day of School Before Winter Break
1/6 No School ~ Work Day for Teachers
1/7 First day back for students after Winter Break

2 comments:

  1. You might want to ask Mrs. Price's class about Australian coins. When we were there (in 2002) we were flabbergasted by the variety of coins. They seem to issue commemorative coins, for general circulation, the way our post office issues commemorative stamps. I saved a number of them as souvenirs, and if I can find them, I'll bring them when we come to CO next month.

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  2. We will have to ask them about that when we talk to them next week. We did do a Skype session with them a couple of weeks ago where we each shared our coins and we sent pictures of our coins to each other but I bet that they didn't share all of the many varieties of coins with us. I know I didn't have our crew share all of the variations of our coins - just the main ones. Good Idea!

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