Yesterday morning, as the kids were returning to their seats after Calendar Math, I was walking around checking to see if they had shown their work on the homework from the night before. It was a set of 10 place value questions (ie, What is the value of the 5 in 498, 256?), and I had insisted that they show a place value chart for each question before choosing their answer. We had even done the first question and chart together in class the day before.
All of the kids had done their charts except one, A, who had not been doing his homework this year anyway. So that really didn't surprise me.
As I picked up his paper to look on the back, he watched me with a spark in his eye. I of course saw nothing on the back except the one chart that we had done in class, but before I could ask, "Where are your place value charts?" A proudly exclaimed, "I did it a DIFFERENT way!" As if he had independently discovered a new element.
I tried not to be TOO harsh as I told him that merely filling in an answer bubble without doing anything else was not actually a "way" so to speak.