Throughout the school day I talk to students. It could be while they are lining up, at recess, in the café, walking through their classroom, etc. The students tell me everything. They tell me about their interests, what they are learning, what they want to do in the future, how they might want to change the world, what is funny, how the Mickey Mouse tie I am wearing today is better than the alphabet tie I had on yesterday. They also have tons of questions for me. I love these conversations!
Some of the most insightful and humorous comments I have ever heard have come from elementary students. There is an honesty and passion to children this age that is nothing short of being just wonderful. Children never stop imagining and dreaming. Elementary students have the highest levels of creativity and it is when we engage their creativity they learn.
Last night as I was watching the Boston Celtics game I was thinking back to how my experience at the elementary school age related to whom I am now in my 30’s. My mom, one of my role models, was an elementary school teacher so it naturally made sense that I went into education. My dad was and still is a huge Celtics fan. So again, it would naturally make sense that I would feel the best book I have read this year is 100 Things Celtics Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die.
As I thought more about watching those great Boston Celtics Teams of 80’s with my dad and brother I realized I wasn’t just watching them. I can remember my dad throughout the game asking questions such as:
-“O.k. this player’s free throw percentage is 68%, do you think he will make this shot?
-“He is mostly a perimeter player, what’s better man on man or zone defense?”
What I realized in this reflection was that my dad was teaching my brother and I math. He more specifically was teaching us number sense, probability, and key math vocabulary.
I also thought how we had a subscription to Sports Illustrated (SI Kids didn’t exist then). My brother and I would read articles particularly related to basketball so we could be ready for questions. The great thing was although the text was a written for an older audience we knew a lot of the content vocabulary like basketball terms and player names so we had an internal sight word list.
In fact, today when I talked to my dad we discussed how “The Truth” (aka Paul Pierce) had over 30 points. We then immediately went into mathematical comparisons to previous Celtics teams prior to the All-Star Break. (Somehow in all this my brother became more of a Bruins’ Fan as an adult and went into biotech.)
A great idea to do over February vacation is bring your children to the public library and introduce them children’s magazines. This is a terrific way to promote reading non-fiction. Likewise, when watching sports with your children have a blast with the math talk. Most importantly enjoy the humor, brilliance, and creativity in conversations with your children. It is really at this time in their lives you are helping to create their life-long dreams, interest and desires.