Let’s talk about SHAPES, Baby!

…literally.

I started my journey this week with the intention to find and read about some new mathematical strategies for my classroom.  Immediately the works “Talking to your Kids about Math” (forgive the absence of a hyperlink – I am still trying to figure this out!) popped off the page.

Ways to help parents talk to their kids about math?  PERFECT!

But in my browsing, possibly because all I have right now is a 2D list of names and I struggling to wrap my hands around what exactly I need to prepare for, my teacher hat slipped off and my momma apron tied snugly around my waist.  The blog had different age groups for mathematical conversations, and, as my biggest little boy will be turning two in just TEN DAYS, I was interested to see what was there for me.

The video focused on talking with daughters about math, but it still made me think, “What conversations do I hold with Miles about mathematical concepts?”

Turns out, this boy is IN LOVE with shapes!  He can find an outline of a circle nearly anywhere, it’s amazing.  He loves pointing out stars and squares, and while oral counting to 3 is still difficult, he sure can identify an octagon!

And then it made me think, I’m a parent and my confidence in speaking to my toddler about math is shaky, and I do this for a living!  What a wonderful resource for me and my fellow parents!

I promise when I have a classroom full of 6 years that the stories revolving around my boys will be fewer… Maybe!  But I feel doubled excited to research all kinds of digital resources, all dressed up with my teacher hat AND mommy apron!  Let’s get started!

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Goal!

Goals, goals, goals…

Scary word that is used a lot in our profession.  It carries a heaviness that gives many educators a slightly metallic taste because it can sometimes be accompanied by judgement if certain prescribed benchmarks are not met.

I am going to choose to read that word as if my 2 year old just scored in his first soccer game – maybe he ran down the field, without stumbling, and swung back his leg with absolutely no intended direction, but that ball, backed by all of his energy, hit the net with a sweet, soft, finality.  He did it!  He worked so hard!  GOAL!

That’s what I am choosing to work for, and by viewing them this way, I am excited to get to work.

So, here are my math goals for this upcoming school year…

1. To make math purposefully fun!  I want to see my students approach difficult mathematical concepts with excitement – NO TEARS!  This will take intentional planning on my part, and thoughtful modeling at the beginning so my students understand that we are going to work together, make mistakes together, and develop understanding together as a team.

2. To better document student successes and struggles.  I could listen to a student talk through their thinking for hours, and while I might at that time see why they recorded it the way that they did, 2 days later their scribbles and labels normally look a bit hairy to me.  I need to make sure I’m taking notes, everyday, on what these kids are explaining to me, and keep them organized and together so I will continuously be building a better picture of each young mathematician in my classroom.

Not big, flashy, or by any means ground breaking goals – but the impact it could make inside my classroom is giant!

Not that simply typing those goals means that they will be met.  Just like my sweet boy in his soccer game, there are lots of pretty flowers, shiny rocks, and mud that could trip me up along the way – not to mention, the running skills of a 2 year old, while adorable and entertaining, are still incredibly unsteady.

I can foresee 1 major roadblock, taking multiple shapes and forms, getting directly in my way this year – I AM normally TIRED.  Countless meetings on campus, runny noses that make sleeping difficult for the 2 kids under the age of 2 living in my home, getting behind in any (and possibly all) other content areas… Sometimes you just walk out of the door at the end of the day, shoulders down, hair looking crazy, searching for chips, salsa and happy hour.

… Sometimes those days happen everyday.

But, that’s when I need to remember how Miles, my messy, loud, wild 2 year old boy, would react to making that first score – he’d smile, cheer (for himself of course, he’s just 2 after all!), and he’d run down the field ready for the next one.

We can do this!

… And let’s be honest, happy hour NEVER hurts!