Friday, July 13, 2007

Why I Love Teaching Teachers (or Changing the World One Classroom at a Time)

I spent the last two weeks sharing ideas for improving math instruction with a fabulous group of elementary teachers. We all worked hard and learned from one another. They have turned in their final projects and I am excited to read what they have done. However, before reviewing their enormous portfolios (most are spilling out of 3 and 4 inch binders!), I have been reading their daily journals and final reflection papers. I'd like to climb to the mountaintops and shout with joy some of what they have shared, but since those shouts would fall on deaf ears, I'm sharing here so that all you teachers with a bit of math phobia may perhaps be persuaded by their words. Here are some quotes.
"My hands were so busy moving objects around, I could FEEL my brain working just as hard and fast! Kinesthetic teaching is truly the way children internalize new and/or abstract concepts." (1st grade teacher)

"I never realized that there were so many books about the concepts I teach." (3rd grade teacher)

"I will try to incorporate more literature into my my lessons." (1st grade teacher)

"All these new ideas are going to push me out of my comfort zone this year. Change is hard." (5th grade teacher)

"I have learned the importance of using more manipulatives in my my math lessons. I have been reminded of the importance of children having hands-on materials to really understand the concept before moving to the paper/pencil tasks. (3rd grade teacher)

"I have decided to set up a game corner with math and literature based activities. This will be perfect for those students who are fast finishers, and also indoor recess. What better way for them to spend the extra time than having fun while reinforcing skills learned?" (4th grade teacher)

"This class has reinforced for me the belief that children must experience math concepts on the concrete level, especially during the early childhood years." (1st grade teacher)

"Manipulatives challenge me to think in different ways, but they also allow me to seek help when I feel frustrated. I must remember this when I go back into the classroom this fall." (1st grade teacher)

"I found the activities we did were fun and at times challenging. It seemed everyone was enjoying themselves and I thought that if we as teachers were enjoying the activities, then our students would too." (Kindergarten teacher)

"I have never had the training to use the tangrams, color tiles, pattern blocks, etc. that I had during these two weeks. Someone always did it who "sort of" understood how to use them and passed that half knowledge on to me. Now these manipulatives make sense to me. . . Now I can implement them in the classroom." (5th grade teacher)
All I can say is YAHOO! Here is one final quote.
"I look forward to e-mailing you throughout the school year to let you know how much my children are enjoying the new activities that I will be teaching them." (3rd grade teacher)
You know what? I can't wait to read them.


  1. Wow - sounds like a wonderful class!! Have you ever written a book on that?!?!? I'd love to see some of your ideas - but I am nowhere near you to take a class!!! It sounds so good!

  2. Uh-oh, Tricia, you may be sorry you posted about math :) because I have a question. My 7 year-old-son, who just finished 2nd grade, is fine on math concepts but is behind on computation and math facts. Are there any books (for him or me) that you would recommend?