As the number of school days dwindles I find myself conflicted. My body and mind need to be rejuvenated by the lazy days of summer, but my heart is sad for the many days I will not get to learn with my students! I am fortunate as a special education teacher that I get to stay with my students for several years, and on the first day of school my students and I are ahead of the game because we already know and love one another!
So, as the year winds down we are engaging in some reflective activities and talking about how we have changed and grown over the year. Today we revisited the Go Ahead, Break the Ice activity that we did the first week of school. When we did the activity at the beginning of the year it took us an entire period to get through it, but today we launched, engaged and debriefed in less than 15 minutes. The students reflected on the arguments that ensued at the beginning of the year because no one wanted to listen to or compromise with anyone else. Today students employed a multitude of problem solving strategies and identified situations in real life where these skills are necessary, and were proud of the growth they have experienced this year.
We followed this activity by writing math acrostic poems. Students were enthusiastic about sharing their creations and this teacher was moved to tears by positive growth mindset that these poems revealed. Here are a few of my favorites:
(This above acrostic was written by my wonderful paraprofessional.)
To cap off the class we did a “Math Is” snowball fight inspired by this blog by Math=Love. Each of us wrote three “math is: statements on a paper, crumpled it and then we all tossed them in the air. Once everyone got a snowball we took turns reading the statements shared by our classmates. It was touching that the students know each other well enough that they were able to identity the author even with no name on the snowball.
Some of my favorite “math is” statements were:
- “I think math is fun now.”
- “Math is exciting.”
- “Math is making some people mad about it because they don’t know hard makes your brain grow.”
- “Math is patterns.”
- “Math is attitude.”
- “Math is art.”
- “Math is something I have problems with, but I have accepted it and learned.”
Of course I have to keep it real and honest so here are some that tell me I still have more work to do:
- “Math is boring.
- ”“Math is stupid.”
Even though these statements reflect a less than positive attitude toward math, the fact that more than one student felt safe and comfortable enough to share their negative thoughts affirm that relationships have developed and a community has been formed. I love doing these kind of activities with my students and when so much awesome is shared it makes the nearing of the last day even more bitter-sweet! I am going to cherish every second I have left with thESE awesome math nerds!