You often hear teachers talk about these wonderful "aha!" moments--you know, the ones that make it all worthwhile: seeing a child's face light up with understanding, witnessing a student's self-confidence soar, etc. I'm sorry to say that I've never truly had one of those moments--I haven't had the joy of seeing it all click for a student. Now, this doesn't mean I haven't had my small successes... I remember one time last year when a student (who was very low, language-wise) spontaneously put together one complete, gramatically correct sentence. That was a good moment. But as far as those "jump-for-joy, I-couldn't-be-anything-other-than-a-teacher" moments, I hadn't experienced that .... until a week ago last Thursday when I was observing my two students mainstreamed for math.

I should back up by saying that in September, I'd decided to run/teach this program called "Rocket Math" from the Otter Creek Institute. It's a basic math fact memorization program that supposedly takes only seven minutes a day. I figured that automaticity for basic addition facts would go a long way when it came to teaching three digit addition with regrouping. It's just not pretty to see nine year olds counting on their fingers to figure out 4+5. It was a lot of work to start the program, but by now the kids run it themselves. It takes about 20 minutes a day for my kids to get through it. I'll be honest, there were times when I thought of ditching it to make way for lots of other things; but I've stuck it out (so far) and last Thursday, I FINALLY saw a real benefit.

My two kids were sitting with their general ed peers in math. The teacher gave them a one minute drill test for addition. I watched as they took it. Both of my students were done in about thirty five seconds and looking at me and around the room to figure out what they were supposed to do now. All of the other kids were still struggling to complete the test.

I was in the corner, stiffling sobs of pride and joy, and trying to refrain myself from jumping excitedly so as not to distract the other kids. My students may have significant gaps compared to their general ed peers, but, by gosh, they KICK BUTT when it comes to basic math facts.
Hooray for Rocket Math! Hooray for me!!


2 bees said...

Too cool!
Teaching is like loving, only with books and pencils...

Randy + Jan said...

Hooray for our Princess!
Your proud dad.

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