I’ll admit, my expectations for today weren’t too high. I had a final for my grad class last night until almost 8:00, so yesterday was a long day. Teachers have inservice tomorrow, so my students have a 3 day weekend. It’s May. The weather is finally nice. I felt like I had so much going against me today, but man, today was one of the best days I’ve had in a long time.
My day started with one of my 6th graders working on some Yohaku style puzzles I created. I hadn’t used these before, so I had no idea what to expect. Would it be too hard? Too easy? I didn’t know. It was the perfect level of challenge for my students. I wish the eraser marks showed up better in the picture below. My students were SO persistent when solving these. There was cheering when a solution was found, and when they found a solution, I challenged them to find another solution. And then another using fractions. My students were engaged in these puzzles for well over 20 minutes. It was fantastic! I plan on writing more about this portion of my unit soon.
Class was over and a student said, “Could you make more of these for next week? Maybe nobody else thought they were fun, but I thought they were really fun.”
My 8th graders are working on solving systems of equations. We were getting into systems that have no solution and infinitely many solutions. My lesson plan wasn’t anything special, at all. Some of my 8th graders have been struggling to focus lately, but both classes worked SO well, the entire hour.
My other 6th grade classes were testing today. One student left this note on her test, and then left little notes/jokes throughout her test. She most definitely made my day.
My 7th grade class was shortened today, and over a third of my class was gone for track and many others were leaving partway through the hour for softball. While my students were taking a short quiz, I this thought, “Maybe today would be a good time to try Dan Meyer’s Taco Cart 3-Act…” I’d never done a 3-Act before, but I’d been wanting to try this one for over a year. I decided now was as good a time as any, so we did. I let my students know that I’d made a last minute decision on what to do. That I hadn’t done this one before. I could be great. I might not be, but they were going to be my guinea pigs. One student’s response, “Yay! I love being a guinea pig.” Students are so awesome.
While the math involved for this 3-act was from a prior unit, the conversations students had while doing this task were so much better than the lesson I had planned.
My final for my grad class was yesterday. That means I didn’t spend today after school working on next week’s homework for that class. Definitely a good thing.