“Hey friends,” I begin. “We had some fun spinning, buliding and comparing numbers yesterday, and we had fun, but we got a little… “
“Confused,” students respond.
Of course, one little guy adds immediately, “I wasn’t confused. I knew exactly what to do and I tried to help my partner but she didn’t listen very well.” He kind of reminds me of Sheldon from “the Big Bang Theory.”
I smile and nod a little in my turkey’s direction, and then state that we will practice together so that we all understand and so that it will be easier to work with our partners.
Kiddos nod, ready to proceed, but I’m looking at them thinking that some of the most confused kids in the class are thinking that they have this completely understood. This will be a challenge.
Recording sheets—identical to our pages yesterday—are distributed to the class. Students, in spite of our introduction, get ready to move to work with a partner, and I have to remind everyone that we are all partners right now.
Everyone gets counters and a matching colored pencil, but there is only one spinner in the room—on the big screen for everyone to see. Unfortunately, only the person who spins up at the document camera gets to spin the spinner, so the “fun factor” is clearly diminished.
I work hard to keep the pace lively and call on volunteers from all over the room, but this is clearly a time where there is a very noticeable difference between the kiddos who get the concept and procedures, and a handful of kiddos who repeatedly show confused.
Enough kiddos are confused often enough that we work on an entire page of comparing numbers before it seems like we are ready to “release” the students for independent practice. It takes so long going through the step-by-step process that we never get time to play independently.
We don’t need a 2-minute warning because we have been “together” for the entire lesson. The enthusiasm in the room is low. The excitement and joy are diminished. But… the concept seems to be understood.
I call on a couple of students from opposite side of the room to demonstrate the process, and before I know it, more kids are at the document camera showing how to build and compare numbers.
“Are we ready to play this game… maybe in a Math Work Station?” I ask to unanimous “Yes”es.
We’re out of time today, but you showed you are ready, so you will get lots of chances to play in our work stations.