Wednesday, April 23, 2003

Some sort of cosmic justice was served today, as I helped three classes of sixth graders sort out fractions. Find the lowest common denominator. Which one is greater? Convert this mixed number to a fraction. Simply this and show your work. No, I didn’t get it at twelve years old, I didn’t keep practicing, I didn’t take math in college, and here – at long last – it has come back to haunt me.

I could just about keep up with the first two classes by falling back on the strategy of having one or two key students “explain to the class” bits I didn’t remember. The third block, though, had all this stuff about estimating that I didn’t get and that no student grasped well enough to show the class – indeed, the kids shouted down Andrew, who did give it a try.

Today, maple tree seeds, those tiny natural helicopters, litter my front porch more thickly than the pollen of the previous few days.

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