Day 156: The One with the Pythagorean Word Problems

1 full day and 3 half days to go before we’re done with content for the year. #JesusTakeTheWheel

In unrelated news, my favorite thing to do this unit is add “Pythagorean” in front of whatever the lesson is. I’m also duly impressed with how hard the kiddos try to say “Pythagorean”.

Photo: Pythagorean Word Problem

2015-04-28 16.16.15One of the structures that we’ve had success with this year is giving our kiddos (all English Language Learners) a word problem. They read it through, solve the problem, then write about it. Initially, I thought it would be too easy, but I am constantly reminded how many new words there are to learn and seeing the problem in multiple ways (reading, drawing/solving, writing about it) seems to give students more access to it.

It’s also interesting to see how students react to word problems over time. Today, we were pressed for time, so we spent more time solving the problems than writing about them. And I think I’m OK with that. This particular student translated some of the words into English, which is a good strategy.

Many teachers talk about “pseudo-context” and how making up a word problem doesn’t necessarily engage students further. I think I agree with this, but for students learning English, word problems fulfill a need to learn new words that might not exist for other students. (This is not a measure of success, but many of our standardized tests, which ultimately do count for our students, are filled with words. I’ve seen so many students who can do the math work be stumped by words like “garden” and “astronaut”) Kiddos got stuck on words like “owner” and “porch”. Incidentally, many students translated “porch” as “espacio libre” (free space).

Outside of Class

Building on the “teachers do more than teach” narrative:

In addition to prepping for tomorrow (which the curriculum partners largely did), I spent a bit of time after school trying to get ready for a Student Support Team meeting (which are called when there are students that need extra support for whatever reason). Multiple phone calls, etc. As a result, I may or may not have been late to another meeting (oops) where teachers from schools across the city to talk about implementing Complex Instruction at our schools. Pretty cool to hear what other people are doing.

Came home, tried to go for a run, took a nap instead. Close.

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