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Monday, September 15, 2008

Are eyeballs supposed to twitch?

OK, I have a question for all of the teachers out there. At what point should I start to get really, really scared?

I usually have a few kids at the beginning of the year who don't recall their basic mathmatic facts well or who have forgotten the need for and the skill of borrowing (or regrouping). This year, I have a few kids who are the EXCEPTIONS to these issues.

In my afternoon class today (11 kids), I asked "What is 8 minus 6?" Silence for about 2 seconds. Then a low collective, "ummmmmmm" for about 3 seconds before the random guesses began. "SIX!" "THREE!" (a muffled "two") "EIGHT!" "GREEN!"

OK, no one said "green." Thankfully. It wouldn't have surprised me, though. But when almost the entire class needs to stop and count on their fingers for a question like "10 - 9" I start to get worried!

Borrowing doesn't seem to be an issue for them -- since most of them don't do it!! "What's 5 minus 7?" I ask. "TWO!!" the kids shout, as the high fives begin and the party favors get blown. And forget sensical answers. 104-98 apparently equals 194. 23-8 is 25. 200-89 is, naturally, 289.

I understand that as a 3rd grade teacher, I need to reinforce and remind kids of 2nd (and 1st) grade concepts. But I feel as though I'm spending more time TEACHING these concepts than the new, 3rd grade, concepts!!!

Anyone else going through this?


Anonymous said...

ROFLMAO! I almost peed my pants reading this post!
(Yeah, I know that wasn't one of their real answers, but it was still hilarious!)

I think it's going to be a long hard year with that class :-(

Jo @ Allegro Photography said...

yikes! you definitely have your hands full.

Edna Lee said...


Half my class takes out their reading books when we do math. Five of those kids actually turned to page 58 in their reading books today and tried to do the estimation of sums and differences problems we were working on. They even raised their hands to ask for help.

Them: "We need help."
Me: "On what?"
Them: "On the math."
Me: "What math?"
Them: "What we're doing now."
Me: "Really? Point to one of the math problems in your book."

And then I walked away as they hunted around on page 58 of their reading books for math problems. There's nothing I can do for them. They are too far gone...

margaret said...

documented proof of the perils of no recess!
did they eat more than Mt. Dew and 4 beef jerky sticks & a nice fried,sugary bakery item for lunch before coming to your class?
Was there something bad in the water 8-9 years ago?
Maybe since Marching in Place works for place value, you could have them walk backwards (outside!)for subtraction - maybe their limbs have to move to make their brains record. Hope you find the key soon!

educat said...

There but for the grace of God go I, sir. Today, they were all charming and intellectual and we listened to Mozart whilst doing vocabulary. Tomorrow, I'll ask them to identify a noun, and I'll get the answers to your math questions.

All optimism is cautious optimism.

hedgetoad said...

my students swear that they've never heard of a noun... and they're in high school.

It's my firm belief that anything students retain is firmly buried under Dorito commercials and photos of the latest pop icon, never to be accessed again.

Anonymous said...

Everyday Math rears its ugly head... Don't blame the kids. It's the curriculum you're stuck with.

Very funny post! But sad too.