Learning by Connecting

by crobertson

“Flush,” I heard a students voice behind me say.  I look with a smirk, I see her.  “Not the toilet,” I laugh back.

An hour later…

I saw a student walking toward me.  “Hey,”  I say with a smile.  She returns the smile, “Hey”.  Her next words, “flush”.  We laugh.

In that moment, my mind returned to yesterday; to the end of they day.  A colleague and I run an after school club.  A math club.  There are 5th and 6th grade mathematicians, whose gears are turning, solving a wide range of mathematical puzzles.  A whole lotta math going on.  Except yesterday.  I mean, there was still math being learned and discovered, but yesterday there was also something more.

I came up to a group and in the process of conferring with them about their thinking and strategy, I said, “Look at the picture, the squares are flush.”  All three of them stopped and looked at me.  “Flush?”  I knew what they were thinking.  “Not the toilet!” I chuckled.  This of course prompted all of us to laugh.  “Well, what do you mean?”  I proceed to explain what it means to be flush, at least in this context.  “Oh.” I hear all three of them say.  “So look back at your puzzle, what does that make you think?”  There is no response.  They work together to shift things around, applying what we just talked about.

Before I left them, I told them that I expect them to remember the word flush.  When I see them in the hallway, I’m just going to say “flush” and I want them to remember what we talked about, and what it means.  Laughter arose again.  “Ok Mrs. Robertson, and we’ll do the same when we see you!”

There’s a whole lotta math going on, most of the time.  😉