Although I no longer spend my days in one classroom or teaching a specific subject area, I still search for ways to make a connection with the students I encounter daily. Whether it’s through the implementation of a new program that makes learning more engaging or simply giving a “high five” to students passing by in the hallways, making that connection is at times even more important for me than it is for the students.
No one enters the field of education looking for fame or fortune. Some of us may have always felt the desire to teach and inspire, and knew long before entering the workplace that this was where we belonged. Others like myself, entered through the back door – unsatisfied with an alternate career choice and looking for a chance to make a difference. Regardless of how we arrived, the objective remains the same — make a connection with students, inspire the leaders of tomorrow, be a champion to a child.
One of the greatest champions to children for over 40 years was Dr. Rita Pierson. Her belief that “every kid needs a champion” continues to be a mantra for teachers everywhere and reminds all educators of the real reason we go to work every day. Sadly, Dr. Pierson passed away in June, 2013 – but her spirit and inspiration remain thanks to a TED Talk that has been viewed over four million times. Her Ted Talk can be viewed below. If you’re a teacher, I know you will feel inspired and perhaps even recognize yourself or your students in her meaningful words. If you are not an educator, you will still feel that connection, knowing that teachers everywhere continue to strive to be a champion to a new generation of learners.
Kindergarten and First Grade teachers have introduced Abacus Math to the children. The students were intrigued by the teachers’ abacus and excited to get their hands on one of their own. It was an amazing sight as they discovered the difference between the “heavenly” beads and the “earthly” beads and began adding and subtracting using the abacus as their calculator. Mrs. Liroff took the children on an imaginary journey outside so they could “visualize” the terminology by looking upward and down below. Visualization plays such an important role in mathematical thinking, and is emphasized beginning in Kindergarten as a precursor to mental math skills.
Teachers will begin sending the abacus home this week for the children to “practice” and feel comfortable manipulating the beads.
Grades 2 through 8 are all beginning to incorporate Writing in Math as an important component of their Math classes. Research has shown that in order for students to effectively use mathematics in solving everyday problems, they must be able to explain the procedures they use and reflect on their thinking. Communicating through writing in a Math journal also affords the student the opportunity to maintain an ongoing record of what they are learning and keeps them actively involved in thinking about mathematics.
Today in 2nd Grade, Mrs. Spier gave each student a “target” number and let him or her explore the many different ways in which they could reach their target. They recorded this activity in their Math journal so they can refer back to it as well as to keep a running record of their progress over time. The creativity and mathematical thinking in class today was awesome! Thank you Mrs. Spier, Mrs. Liroff, and all of the “K through 8” teachers for starting off the school year on such a mathematical high note!