Saturday, March 12, 2011

Me and Fifth Grade

I can tell that me and fifth grade are going to get along real well. In just the first five days at my new placement, I have been able to teach the following things:

- equivalent fractions
- equivalent fractions and decimal numbers
- whole number and decimal place values
- long division
- long division with decimals
- Greatest Common Factor
- Lowest Common Denominator
- linear equations
- acute and obtuse angles
- prime and composite numbers
- radius and diameter
- circumference and perimeter
- adding and subtracting whole numbers and decimals
- figurative language (metaphors, similes, onomatopoeia, personification)
- prepositional phrases
- superlatives and comparatives
- past, present, and future tense
- spelling words with silent letters
- geographic location of Egypt and the Suez Canal (along with explaining what a canal is)
- the "single-digit dino"
- Kenya

And that's just in one week's time! Let's face it. I was made for fifth grade.

As I was teaching math on my second day (yes, my cooperating teacher let me teach whole group on the second day! I was ecstatic!), I thought, This is what I was made for.

I really felt myself come to life this past week. Usually, the upper-grade academic content scares people, but I love it. And, I love teaching it. Since I had such a difficult time with math at their age (and then finally "got it" one day), I truly understand the complexity of each problem. I understand why it's confusing to have to reduce a fraction not once, but twice (40/100 = 4/10 = 2/5). I get that. I understand why it doesn't make any sense to have letters in math problems (4y = 16). I get it. And I love showing my students that, even though it may not make sense, they can get the answer right if they think hard enough. The answers are all up there in their little brains, it's just a matter of learning how to retrieve what they need. I have learned to be a problem solver, and they can learn to be problem solvers, too.

I loved being in first grade, especially once I got the hang of it. And I would teach first grade (and teach it well!) in a heartbeat if that's where I need to be! But, I see myself in an upper-grade for the long-term, talking about participle phrases and literature and fractions for as long as my students will listen. :)

Oh, and it's also Spring Break! My to-do list for Spring Break is probably longer than a normal week's list, but at least I get to do all those things at my leisure... and I can work in my PJs. :)

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