Friday, February 26, 2010

Barf, tears, and crushes

I will apologize in advance for this post and the title, but if you read on, it sums up my tutoring today very nicely.

I had the opportunity to help in another classroom today, a 3rd grade Sheltered English Instruction (SEI) class with roughly 20 squirmy third graders doing multiplication word problems. I got a warm welcome chorus of "Hi Ms. Minh!" from 20 eager and excitable children and a speed round of names to memorize in thirty minutes.

The teacher Ms. Ph had the students on the carpet and was asking word problems like "There are 8 dogs, each dog has 6 puppies. How many puppies are there?" and the students would have to repeat the equation and the answer.

No more than five minutes after I got the classroom, a student with some stomach virus threw up on the carpet and made a trail to the trashcan. I'm not even going to sugarcoat this one, it was naaaasty. Nasty.

I was surprised at how well the kids handled the situation though, most of them kept their focus and we continued on with the math. The students finished up with group work, and went back to their desks to do all class multiplication fact families. Ms. Ph would ask and write on the board:

11 x 12 =

To which the students were to compile the fact family:

11 x 12 = 132
12 x 11 = 132
132 / 12 = 11
132 / 11 = 12

I walked around and helped the students. I was about to say "This isn't how Math Rules! works" but I felt I would be more helpful by circulating the entire class and helping to check fact families, I let it go. The students were enthusiastic about math which was nice to see and experience. By circulating I got a good sense of which students needed help, which students wanted attention, and which students wanted someone to check over their answers.

At one point, another student came to inform my class they would have computer class instead of science (or something like that). This student unfortunately disrespected one of the students in my class, which upset her and she started crying. Which is not very nice at all. Ms. Ph handled the situation well, but the upset student wasn't ok. I stepped in and used a mentoring moment to tell the student that it was just probably because the offending student doesn't like herself very much that she has to put others down. I hope it made her feel better, but you can never really tell. I think I'll follow up next week with her. It's a shame because she seems like a very bright student and enjoyed doing math.

Math homework was given out, the students had to copy equations on a sheet of paper and bring back fact families. Two students who were sitting next to each other were bickering, and I asked them what was up as I was circulating. Each time I came by there were new developments. They were teasing each other:
"She punched me"
"He kicked my shin"
"She threw this piece of paper at my face, look what it did!"

I did not point out the fact that this probably means they liked each other, but it was incredibly adorable and amusing to say the least.

I'm extremely excited to be working in the class now, there's a lot of good math potential, positive energy, and interesting characters in this class. I'm looking forward to it.

Have a great weekend everyone!


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