math class, my way

I am not sure how much I have posted regarding this long-term substitution stint I am doing. I have only one week left at the school and I will have to say this will be the hardest to leave of my three times there. The students have really been amazing to work with even on the days when a couple of the younger ones have been so frustrated with situations that they didn’t want to cooperate. I may give you more on that later, but for now let me just say that I could really feel for them in their situation rather than be frustrated that they were not doing what they were told. Let me also say that part of my attitude about teaching has changed and mostly it is because of age and even more it is since being a grandmother. I look much more at these youngsters in “how would I deal with my grandson/daughter in this situation. It has really made a difference for me in terms of my attitude. I also feel much less stress than when I was thinking of my own children in this situation. Wow, it is so amazing to see age as a positive thing for a change.

Today I wish to tell you about our math class. We began with 3 younger high school students (after a transfer, we now have 4) who all spent time in the resource room. Math at that age begins to go the way of algebra and geometry and all sorts of really beyond me things like graphs and slopes and I want to run away and scream. Well, these three youngsters were put into a class of functional math. The lessons in the beginning were all about fractions with the dynamics of money. It was learning about what the top and the bottom numbers on a fraction really represent (equal division of a whole and the number of those parts used). We also learned quite a bit about measuring with a ruler in the beginning.

Well to make a short story long, the big issue is that the math teacher decided to stay home with her baby that was born last spring and so the school advertised for a new teacher and to date has not been able to fill the position permanently. There is a teacher who comes once a week, while the administrators (both certified in math) fill in. The resource room (me and one of the para-professionals) fills in on three days a week to teach the students that fit there. We have been focusing on the book work while the certified teacher has been filling in with labs of measurements (they built a bookshelf) and computer work.

One day in a brainstorm about the math, our para said that measurement is more than just using a ruler, it is also about work in the kitchen. The resource room just happens to be located in the room of the building that was originally built for a home economics (now called Family and Consumer Science) classroom. We have the perfect spot, our own kitchen complete with sink, stove and little fridge. We decided to learn fractions in a more hands on and life skill way by cooking with the students. The first week when I was at the homecoming in Jamestown, they made cookies in a mug in the microwave. This week was my week. I decided it was time make banana bread. It was a blast.

Students holding their Banana breads

The brief version of what we did. First we made them take the recipe and double it, which gave them a bit of work with paper. I divided up the tasks we needed to do and they were able to choose their assignments. One boy did the mixing because he felt comfortable with it. I was not into teaching that on this first try. Another measured oil, one measured sugar, a third cracked all the eggs and dropped them into the mixing bowl. The student on the eggs is not actually in the class, but was in the room and we invited him to participate. The other two students did the dry ingredients, flour, soda and baking powder.

The final addition was the bananas. They were all so curious about how to cut up the bananas and measure them. Ha! The joke was that I brought 6 frozen bananas that thawed in the fridge overnight. They were gooey and sticky and the students panicked about who might get the job of peeling them. I showed them how to carefully pull open an end and squeeze the banana into a bowl then drop it into the batter. Then I looked at them and said if they wanted their bread (I had individual loaf pans for the baking) they had to each do one banana. They did and I think they loved it and will never forget this lesson. I also brought some chocolate chips and let them drop some into their bread. It was a great day and makes me wish I had gone into FACS. Because these are minor children, I will not post their faces or their names. They loved the joke of how we took this picture and it being like the parents on Peanuts cartoons. The English teacher who does the school newspaper took a picture of them and will put an article into the paper about what we have been doing in that class. Hopefully it is a hit with the public.

I hate to make this post so long, but I will share the recipe here: Banana Bread (single loaf) 350 F

Mix dry ingredients and set aside: 1 1/3 cups flour, 2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp baking soda.

With mixer combine: 1/3 cup veg. oil, 3/4 cup sugar and 2 eggs. Mix and add part of dry ingredients. Add 3 ripe bananas and remainder of dry ingredients. I often add walnuts to the mixture. Some prefer chocolate chips or whatever you enjoy. Bake, cool and eat up.

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Ilze
    Oct 07, 2017 @ 15:22:35

    Interesting! They will never forget this lesson for sure! I have never seen such a short recipe that involves oven! 🙂 Genious!



  2. Rhonda Sittig
    Oct 07, 2017 @ 13:24:53

    Sounds like you turned a math lesson into a lot of fun Lucinda!! Glad it’s going well… oxxo

    Liked by 1 person


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