Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Math Class Laughs..

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Math today was simplistic. During our morning table time we played 2 rounds of Joey-Joey. We now play for 5 minutes to allow time to run between the hundreds chart for those trickier facts I’ve thrown in. This means we play one less round, but there’s less desperation and frustration on behalf of the boys. It’s really a win-win situation.
I’m content to be beaten in both rounds by them and am impressed by their ability to retain math facts in this fashion. I’m also hoping they didn’t count me double checking on my fingers a few math facts that I was responsible for answering.. 
After lunch we had another multiplication lesson. These are something Morgan and I normally do on our own, all though Jayden loved sitting in for the reading of Bunches & Bunches of Bunnies. Which, unfortunately, only reminded him that Mr S and I are stoutly against purchasing him any form of a rabbit as a pet. And no, I promise it has nothing to do with the nightmares I still have about my own pet bunny going totally nutters on me. But that story has nothing to do with any of our math classes today..
We’re sitting at the table and have just finished another enjoyable reading of Make Way For Ducklings when I say.. “Today we’re going to work on groups of. What’s another name for groups of?”
Morgan is quick to answer and this frustrates Jayden so we allow Jayden to answer to. He starts out on the right track, but ends with, “Multiplamystery!” We suppress laughter and correct him.
Once I explain to Jayden that multiplication is simple and we’ll have little bugs to count to help he’s determined to do this “very grown up” kind of math problem. 
“Mr Mallard has to get each of his 8 ducklings 5 grasshoppers to eat. So we need to figure out exactly how many he must go collect!”
Jayden’s mouth falls open and he’s not impressed with the math fact. Morgan, however, says, “Oh rats.” I’m surprised by this because he loves the 2, 10, and 5 family when it comes to multiplication. 
I simply look up from what I’m doing and he says, “It’s just that I don’t want the ducks to eat these cute little bugs!” 
“Just pretend they are rabid mad bugs destroying our veggie garden!”
“Cute bugs never do bad stuff like that, it’s only ugly mean bugs that do.”
“Just pretend Morgan!”
I set them to work cutting out groups of 5 grasshoppers, and this goes along quite well until Jayden starts giggling. Now you have to understand something about our Jayden. His giggles start out very small. He scrunches up his shoulders and puts his hands over his lips to try to suppress it. This is always to no avail.
Eventually his shoulders shake so hard his hand falls away from his face. This causes him great spasms of glee and his head will fall backwards and his mouth will suddenly pop open and great big gurgles of laughter will come rolling out. The very worst part? It is practically impossible to not laugh when Jayden laughs. His laughter catches and before long we’re all giggling but only Jayden knows why.
Apparently he’d snipped the legs off one grasshopper and he found that highly amusing. I’m glad we’re not working with real grasshoppers, and I attempt to get them back on track.
Before long we have all our grasshoppers cut out and I suggest they each fetch their own bottle of glue. This isn’t hard, I usually have 3 bottles of glue in our school basket and another two upstairs by the office desk. Morgan is picky and will only glue with blu glue. He swears that the non blu glue is tricky for him. Between you and me, my child has glue issues, which extend so deeply he often manages to glue the lid of the glue sticks ON and it takes us ten minutes to pry them off.
Such is the case with the glue stick Jayden has. There is much prying and smacking in an attempt to remove it. Morgan offers to hold one end of the glue stick while Jayden holds the other. I’m about to tell them this is a poor idea for fear one of them will tumble into a wall, and honestly I’m just not up to another hospital trip anytime soon!
I’m too late and the top finally comes off and the glue comes flying out of the plastic container and lands on the floor. Upside down. There’s much laughter about the whole thing, which is soon followed by laments. I ignore the laments and remind them that they should be gluing bugs to paper. 
Which sounds really bad and our windows are wide open. Thankfully our closest neighbors at home, right now, are sheep. Surely animals that permit birds to sit on their backs and peck bugs off won’t have a problem with me gluing bugs to paper. We carry on.
It takes us another twenty minutes, or more, to get our grasshopers on and then work the multiplication problem. Each child counting by 5’s silently. We write out the fact and then work another multiplication problem using snails this time. 
That unfolds pretty much the same way, all though instead of trimming off legs we trim off tails. Still, we succeed in working out this problem correctly until Jayden forgets that it goes 10, 12, 14 not 10, 12, 13. We let him try again and he comes to the right answer. Hooray!
Then I introduce division. This goes well until I show them how to set up a long division problem. You see if I don’t mention the two different ways right now, at the very beginning, Morgan will panic when I show him later. He will say things like, “MOM! You’re doing it wrong! You said...” Rather then cause headaches later I’ll cause them now.
He’s slightly bewildered and while he’s staring at what I’ve done Jayden says, “I don’t get it. You use a gun to figure out division? That’s just weird.” 
It’s the first time in my life I’ve ever felt that a division simple represented a gun, but now that he’s said it I can’t stop thinking about it. I tell them that they don’t need to worry about “the gun” way, that they won’t need that for a while.  We work out our division problem and the boys write it out. 
There is no more talk of guns or anything else non-math”ish” and we survive our lessons. I remind the boys they can not have any free time until we tidy up. They aren’t pleased, but begin working straight away. I leave them to their mess in the living room and work on tidying up the kitchen from their snack.
It’s then that I see how much of our lesson has sunk in, or not..
Jayden says, “Morgan how long is an hour?”
Now I have no idea why he asked this. I don’t. There’s any one of a million reasons he could have, and I really expected Morgan to tell him, because he normally does. Morgan is great at remembering small facts like days in a week, minutes in an hour.. Jayden balances the other side of the scale by remembering bigger facts and it works for them.
However, all Morgan says is, “I dunno, but I’m sure it’s a long time.” 
I wait to see if he’ll change his answer, but when he doesn’t I feel the need to set the story straight. “An hour is the same as 60 minutes.”
Jayden gasps, “Wow, that is a lot!” 
They continue picking up, and Morgan finally puts aside a lego book he was thumbing through long enough to say, “So how long is 2 groups of 60 then Mom?”
“120.” 
“What? How did you know that!”
“Well, it’s like this.. 6x2=12 so...” they don’t give me time to finish explaining. In fact, I’m pretty sure they never even heard me talking which makes me wonder if my migraine is really messing with me and I ever opened my mouth to start with. It’s this fact that I’m debating when I hear Jayden say, oh so matter of factly..
“Well you do know, Morgan, she did go to highschool!” 

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