Birthday Math And Then Some …

As I’ve blogged about before, I always start my day nice and early with a variety of language and math games to get my brain thinking and to help make me ready to learn. This morning, it was the Nerdle games that had me thinking about a math challenge of my own. I sent out this tweet before school today.

Kory Graham shared a reply first, and it was through our conversation that I began to think more about how we maximize small moments to get kids thinking.

I’m not necessarily saying that I would give this riddle to the students that I teach, but for some students, you could give it to them. In the past, if a child asked how old I was (a question that is often asked first when kids figure out that it’s your birthday), I’ve always given them clues. Maybe it’s the teacher in me that can’t resist a math or literacy connection.

This made me think about an unrelated story from the other day. Back at the end of October, I blogged about how I bonded with a couple of students over basketball. These two are constantly looking for me when I’m on duty, so that they can do a little dribbling with me. For a while now, we’ve had blacktop, walk-and-talk, no equipment recesses because of an icy or muddy field. These couple of students are very upset that we can’t play basketball, and they talk to me about it every time that they see me in the hallway or outside. Recently, they stopped me in the hallway to discuss basketball. This time, I replied differently than I usually do. I said,

“When we can go back on the field again, write me a note to ask to play basketball. I’ll pick a day that I don’t have duty, and I’ll come out to play with you. I’ll even write you back!”

They promised to do so. Another teacher was in the hallway as I was chatting with these boys, and she later started to chuckle while saying, “You will always find a way to work in that reading and writing … won’t you?!” And the truth is, I do. Maybe it’s my years in kindergarten with the fairy notes of the past, but I just can’t resist finding or creating the learning in small moments.

How do you turn these snippets of the day into learning opportunities? What might be some benefits in doing so? Sometimes we can plan long lessons and in-depth activities, and sometimes we can work a language or math opportunity into an unplanned conversation. Maybe we need both of these learning experiences in our classrooms and schools. What do you think?


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