“The noblest pleasure is the joy of understanding” – Leonardo de Vinci
I graduated from college during the teacher hiring freeze. After telling my mom I would live off of water and sunshine in Charleston, I bravely moved to the city that every girl wants to live in during their twenties. For a while I worked as a waitress, and then I took a sales job for one of my dad’s friends. While there Scott (who is now my husband) would never teach me how to run background checks because he knew if he taught me how to complete this task, I would do the task even if it was someone else’s job. He was right. One day we were in a pinch and he had to allow me to do the background checks. We needed me to complete this task. After that, without being asked, I would run background checks. I was taught a skill. I had initiative, so I applied it.
Last week, I blogged about how drilling in killing isn’t always a bad thing. Especially when your kiddos can not regurgitate that 4 times 7 is 28. Sometimes, students need old school memorization. Other times, you need a little creativity.
My creative spark burns out when the word “math” is uttered. It is difficult for me to wrap my mind around math being elaborated on at times because I fought tooth and nail to make it through Algebra, Calculus, and Geometry. It is just not my favorite subject. However, I had to allow my students’ creative juices to flow to our multiplication unit.
We have learned multiple strategies to successfully find the products of multi-digit multiplication problems like 53*2 and 392*4. As a way to review my students completed one math problem using multiple strategies to find the same product. The students were able to pick the math problem and the strategy. They were required to complete a single page that I could print out and display in our hallway. (I haven’t updated in a while!)
Once I assigned the project, many students came to me and asked if they could export their project into Explain Everything. We have done many explain everything projects this year, but I didn’t want everyone to turn in a project using Explain Everything because I couldn’t print Explain Everythings. (I don’t have a monitor in the hallway to constantly run their creations!) “Sure,” I said. What I didn’t know was that this flame would create a forest fire. Almost my entire class decided they wanted to explain how they completed the math problems.
When an individual is taught a skill, it is something that can not be taken away from them. Kind of like teaching me how to run background checks (which is a skill I hope I don’t have to use again). Individuals that learn a skill can apply the skill again. When we teach things matter to kids, they often retain them. Explain Everything mattered to my kids. They learned the skill and applied using the application even when it was not required.
What new skills can we teach that matter to our kids next?