Thursday, August 26, 2010

Back to School

Woke up early this morning and daydreamed about school starting and our new house (we move in October 29th).  I wanted to get thos brilliant sleepy thoughts down before they disappear like the contents of a dream.  Here's how it goes in my head...

First Day:
I write on the board, Wheel of Fortune style:  __    __ __ __ __ __ __
There's a part of your brain that I'm afraid doesn't get enough use, so I'd like to spend this year working on that.  No, it's not the geometry part, it's not the algebra part, don't worry.
__    __ __ N __ __ __
It's the part of your brain that requires extended thought.  It's the part that's responsible for figuring things out.  Not like, "How many letters are in the capitol of South Dakota" figuring things out.  That's too quick and there's really only one way to get the answer.
__   __ __ N __ E __
More like the part of your brain that could tell me whether states with a lot of letters tend to have capitols with fewer letters.  (I may work on these questions...)
__   __ O N __ E __

And my 2-year-old just woke up so this post is put on hold... oh, the suspense!!  This is my life!!
After the ups and downs of the first day of workshop, I'm trying to regain my enthusiasm.  Here goes!

Again, I'd really like to help you grow the part of your brain that figures stuff out when you're unsure.
__    __ O N __ E R
Even if you don't remember the formula for finding the slope between two points, with your new and improved brain, you won't feel stuck.
I    __ O N __ E R
The problems you work on don't have to be math problems, they don't have to have a point, and you wouldn't even have to have a final answer to make the process valuable.
I    __ O N D E R
I've often said that I don't care if my son turns out to be a math genius or a straight A student.
I   W O N D E R
I just want him to have curiosity and an interest in figuring things out.

Now that I type all of this out, I wonder if I will bore the children with all of the teacher-talk.  But, it is the first day and most teachers are probably reading them a syllabus or something.

Oh, did I mention that there is a cup sitting on each of their desks?  :)  We'll enter right into the cup rolling exploration courtesy of Dan Meyer.  dy/dan Glassware

At first, I was only going to do this with Geometry, but I bet my Precalculus kids are also in need of an unconventional problem without an obvious solution technique.  The best part is that I'm not giving them hints!  Again, my inspiration comes from Dan and many others' blogs that helped get me enthused for this year.  I want them to wonder, hypothesize, test, and if we get to it, come to a conclusion.  If not, I love the idea of just moving on.  Do we need an answer?  Couldn't we let it mull around longer?  It's the thinking process, not the answer that's important.

Getting to be a long post.  It almost sounds like I'm ready for Day 1.  Deceiving, huh?  :)

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