My Moment - Day 20 - Applause

If you have not gotten a chance to read my blog about my #oneword for 2016, check out Enjoy the Moment. 

As I mentioned in my blog, my #oneword is a call to action for me to be mindful of the moments that make up my day. The moments at home, the moments at work and the moments that happen in between.

In the midst of back to back conferences in #ATX I managed to actually find one day at the end of last week to be on campus. You can read more about my day back by checking out My Moment Day 19. During a whirlwind of a day, I noticed a teacher that I could tell, was not having her "best day" at work. Despite my attempts to brighten her day, it was clear, she was defeated and just was not herself. Later in the day, she made her way by the office and we were able to talk for a moment about what was on her mind. The success of her students weighed heavily on her and a small group of her 4th grade students had just taken a quiz on fractions. Needless to say, the students did not do well. She was frustrated. She shared her thoughts with me and I did my best to listen to her concerns. She had tried teaching it in a number of ways. She taught using ways that allowed the students to be able to visualize the fractions, discuss fractions and use manipulatives with fractions and felt as if, based on the unit, students had an understanding of the concept. Evidently she was wrong. I hate being wrong. Who doesn't. The good news, she realized work was yet to be done. After some reflecting, I knew she would return with a new plan and be ready to approach fractions in a different way on Monday. As she left we discussed some different approaches she could possibly take that may allow students to understand fractions. 

The weekend came and went and here I am, back in #ATX (Austin, TX) for #TCEA16. In the middle of my day, a brief moment in between sessions, I received a text message from the teacher referenced above. She had spent the weekend reflecting and came back stronger than ever. She came back with a mindset to change and approach fractions differently with her students. No worksheets, no workbooks, and new manipulatives. LEGOS! I love legos and guess what, students do to! If you look closely, students are working on equivalent fractions using Legos. It is not exactly how the curriculum was designed, but if students can make the connection using Legos, why not? 

 I applaud this teacher for a couple of reasons...

1. She recognized her first attempt in teaching a concept was unsuccessful. It is not always easy to admit or recognize that what we did as professionals did not work out. Again, who hates being wrong. We want to be right. We want things to work the first time. However, when they do not, how will you respond? This teacher responded with a new approach to teaching a topic she knew students were struggling to understand, she did not give up. 

2. She took a risk. She is using Legos to teach math, more specifically teaching fractions. How many teachers are willing to teach fractions with Legos? Teachers today need to be willing to do it differently. The workbook is not going to get it done. A worksheet is not what students want to do and if they do not want to do it, will they really learn it? I do not think so. 

Being completely honest and transparent, the students demonstrated an understanding of fractions today, but the true test will come when they return to school tomorrow and demonstrate the same understanding. If they do, hats off to the teacher for trying something different and finding something that worked. If they do not, then what? Do we quit trying and just move on or do we reflect and come back the following day, stronger than the day before? I know what my answer is, but what is yours? 

When teaching gets tough and the ideas we have or the curriculum we teach does not promote the success we seek, what do we do? Do you keep going or do you continue to find the moment? 

What was your moment today? 

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