November 29, 2010

The Chinese Chicken and Turtle for Lunch

I have been so busy with school that my bloggy intentions over break went to the wayside. Didn't want to look at my computer for a couple days then it was back to the grind, but a sweet and hilarious grind on the days that I teach!

I have a lot of Asian students. In fact one of my precious munchkins moved back to China with his family today :-(. They are so smart and motivated but they also keep me cracking up. Last week one of my children comes bounding in from lunch with a "Ms. W. I have a present for you!" Here's how this played out...
Child drops a claw into my hand
"Aww, that's cool _____, what is it?"
"It's a turtle claw!"
"Where did you find it?" (With visions of a turtle massacre on the playground...)
"Well I had turtle for lunch and I found it in my food so I spit it out!"
(I quickly pass it back to her...) "Why don't you give that back to your mom, she'd love to have it."
Hahaha never a dull day in the third grade.

And now to the Chinese Chicken. When taking a poll about some of my student's Thanksgiving traditions, it seems that Turkey has gone by the wayside and that Chinese Chicken is the culinary delight of choice. (Christmas Story Fa Ra Ra Ra Ra anyone?) Today I decided to adapt this Turkey Math problem to become da da da- The Chinese Chicken problem! I am being trained to teach math in a different way, by allowing the students to make sense of the new concepts before they are fully introduced or rules/algorithms given. That way, by using what they know and developing new skills and strategies, they have a more organic understanding of the math that can then be applied to more difficult concepts. (Once the algorithms are taught, if that makes sense.) Here's an example of a pre-Multiplication problem:

I began with a warm-up (in this case telling time/fractions of a clock) to get them thinking, review, and assess what they know. I then go into the launch as seen below. Students worked in groups to solve the problem and then they created posters of their strategy. At the end, several groups shared in front of the class and we had a rich discussion surrounding the many different ways we could get the same answer. It planted the seed for the idea that multiplication is repeated addition! I love teaching math- there are so many aha moments!

The Chinese Chicken Problem
Ms. W is going to cook a giant Chinese Chicken for an upcoming Holiday party. A lot of people are coming to her house for dinner so she bought a 24 pound chicken. According to Ms. W’s cookbook, a chicken needs to roast for 15 minutes per pound (which means for every 1 pound of chicken, it needs 15 minutes in the oven). She has two problems that she needs your help with.
1) How long does the Chinese Chicken need to cook- in hours?
2) If Ms. Wright wants her guests to eat at 4:30 pm, what time would she put the Chinese Chicken in the oven?

Every student was so engaged as a mathematician- quite precious to watch! Math should always be this much fun. Happy Monday and Happy Advent!

November 11, 2010

I am thankful for...

Lightbulb or Aha! Moments

Love when that information just "clicks" in a young student's mind. Everyone learns, everyone wins. I'm blessed to be a part of amazing moments such as these. It's definitely days like this that remind me why I am a teacher.

So. Worth. It.