Summer of Learning 2017 – reading, writing and math (?) for summer fun
I’ve seen it frequently as summer approaches: read for fun. Sign out extra library books. Get a library card. Summer reading programs.
Write stories. Journal about what you did for the summer? Create a play!
Math? Whew – free for a couple months – but gosh darn it, we always seem to have students “lose” math skills over the summer…especially because memorization drills (flash cards) stop….
“Rest is Rust”
“If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it”
So….we need to find ways (and language) to encourage math as something that can be done “because it’s beautiful” (or something like that as one of my math influencers Trevor Calkins http://poweroften.ca/author/ has said)
and when people say we need to get “back to basics – the way ‘we’ learned as kids” I always like asking what made math their favourite subject as a child…….not so many say they ‘liked’ math – yes there are outliers, but more like myself and others “fell back in love with math” later….when it was fun….and beautiful. “Fun” needs to be more than memorizing as many numbers in Pi as you can (thought there is a joy in that for some!) and it isn’t just doing logarithm worksheets/workbooks because
“Drill to Kill” (the love of the subject)
Play games and talk about the math involved (patterns, adding subtracting multiplying and dividing, geometry etc)
But it’s why I love following math geeks like @alicekeeler f’r instance: http://alicekeeler.com/2017/06/12/math-journal-prompts-allison-childers/
And why I did some rethinking thanks to a throwaway line from Dr Who to design some Recreational Mathematics https://technolandy.wordpress.com/recreational-mathematics/
Because I’ve had some great math students…except during test time…..and I’m less and less sure how much that matters. And I have a son who won’t fill in worksheets because of the repetition – and when we asked why he didn’t do a 9×2 questions and he responded that he did….and pointed to 3×6 and said it’s all about 3s…..I couldn’t argue that he didn’t know what he was talking about….
Math. It should be fun. It should be differentiated. It should be beautiful. But in the same way that not everyone reads or writes the same as we adapt around interests and build on successes…..why don’t we scaffold similarly in math? Tuesday doing odd questions and Wednesday even questions is no longer in vogue…..and when I’ve seen math done “different” than workbook for all and “fun for some” it’s been amazing to see the mindset shift….and for many, math becoming a “favourite subject” (until they move to a more traditional class approach)….
So start exploring how to keep kids doing math over the summer wrrks without focusing on flash cards and worksheets….emphasize the “Recreational” part that can be done with math…..how deep into Pi can you remember….and why do those numbers enable Pi to be….Pi?