Each week I am constantly thinking about my celebration. It really makes a huge difference with my attitude several times a week with my students. It's been a bumpy rocky start to the school year. We have completed our second full week and we've found a little corner to start heading toward a smoother path. I am excited to Celebrate this week and thanks Ruth for encouraging me to find a little celebration everyday.
I'm celebrating messy. Messy learning as well as messy lesson plans. With the encouragement of my math coach, I have totally revamped the start of our math class. We didn't jump right into 5.NBT.1 (which just reading it) you might understand why she nudged me gently to start the year "Thinking as Mathematicians" and discussing the Mathematical Practices as my guide. Well it's been a journey, one I wouldn't change, but one I would say hasn't been easy for me or the students. We're truly learning together. The photo above is from a "Rich" math problem about a trip to the beach. The students had several calculations and one of them involved long division from the old school of thought; however, most students didn't have any idea how to do it YET. After 20 students said, "Mrs. Caplin,I need help." I put on the breaks and offered the banks (play money) and all of them tried to use money to solve the problem. It was even crazier for me because all of them were withdrawing different amounts. However for them it was the absolute best choice. After two days of working on the same problem. (That was another coachable moment for me) They got it. Math is 70 minutes, but yesterday it was 110 minutes, and every child succeeded including time for a snack.
I would rather "know" authors than anyone else who might be famous. I told my students as we were discussing our favorite authors. After namedropping a few that I "know" I started reading conferences. A. told me he loved Cynthia Lord and his favorite books are Shelter Pet Squad. A. doesn't really like reading because it's hard. After I posted this on my face book page, Cynthia graciously offered to send an autographed bookmark. She wrote a lovely encouraging note and as we opened the envelope you could have heard a pin drop. A's smile was huge and he instantly told me I had to laminate both things so they could last forever. Authors are rockstars especially when they give so graciously and have such a huge impact on our students' lives. I celebrate Cynthia Lord for having such a kind heart. Thank you.