29 Aug

This Battleground

This week felt like a constant battle.  Not at all with my kids, I fell in love with them.  But a battle for my kids.

We were fighting, clawing, taking 4 steps forward and then 3 back.  It was a constant struggle to get them to really get this week’s focus in math, place value.

It was good, but it was hard.  We had our first math lesson on Tuesday, and it went well.  The kids understood hundreds, tens, and ones brilliantly.  After being so frustrated on Monday because of behaviors, I needed this win.  It was short lived, though, because Wednesday was a disaster.  I asked kids to regroup tens and ones, seeing that 27 could be 2 tens and 7 ones, 0 tens and 27 ones, or 1 ten and 17 ones.  They didn’t get it, and they didn’t know there was anything to get.  They were frustrated.  I was frustrated.

So I backed things up on Thursday.  And the lesson was still a colossal flop.  Seemed like no matter what I did, it didn’t make sense to them.  I called my mom.  She helped me think about things differently.  I texted with my old mentor who is now a math coach.  She told me something I probably should have known from the beginning: unifix cubes.

Friday, we made progress.  90% of my students were able to get that 27 tens could be 2 tens and 7 ones or 27 ones.  6 students were able to figure out that it could also be 1 ten and 17 ones.  Several more got it when it was explained to them by their classmates.  It wasn’t perfect, but coming on the heals of so much failure, it was a definite win.

But mostly, this was week one of school.  Week one of feeling like every day, I might completely fail these kids.  I’m so incredibly scared of battle fatigue.

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