I love the Rekenrek.
I love the visual it provides. I love the way it can be used by kids to make numbers, the sounds the little beads make clanking together – not to mention, clean up is crazy easy!
I was literally bouncing off the walls with excitement, just waiting to share it with the class. When the day finally came, I think I may have even dressed up for the event, and then…
Crickets. Literal silence. I probably looked something like this…
What a sad day! Why didn’t they love it? Why wasn’t there unbelievable math happening all over the room? They loved my Rekenrek last year!
I once was lucky enough to listen to one of my favorite Author’s, Cathy Collins, speak. She hilariously told a story about how sometimes lessons bomb and it is best to cut your losses and just walk away.
But that wasn’t me. I kept at it.
And things just got worse.
So, that night, I miserably sat down to make a plan for the next day. The kids didn’t get it, and I knew it wasn’t their fault. I did all that I could to force my love of the Rekenrek and the learning I wanted, and because of that, I might as well have dismissed the class for the day at 2:00. Then I started thinking, what days did my KIDS feel successful in math? What tools did they connect with, what sparked the deepest conversations?
I tried the next day with the same concept, but with a tool the students had been interested and more engaged with – the 10’s frame paddles. And, of course, we were able to get where I was hoping to get the day before. The kids were excited, I was relieved, and I think everyone shared a sense of accomplishment about what we were able to do.
I see now, as the old saying goes, “If they aren’t learning the way I teach, maybe I need to start teaching the way they learn.”
And I’ve got time – I bet I get them loving the Rekenrek yet.