Thursday, December 22, 2011

Let the good times start!

Christmas is just three days away and I'm not sure who is more excited, me or the kids! Last night Chelsea invited us all over for the first of MANY parties yet to come. She totally out did herself with cookies, candy, and gingerbread houses. I'm not sure how she does it all while tending MY baby girl! The kids had a blast frosting cookies, decorating gingerbread houses, drinking caramel apple cider, playing together, and eating gumballs by the dozen. Thanks Chelsea. You are always one for a good time.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Are you smarter than a 4th grader?

I don't remember 4th grade being too hard, but in the last couple of weeks I have learned that apparently I am NOT as smart as a 4th grader. The first experiece that led me to believe this was a simple science experiment, growing a sugar crystal. When Luke brought the assignement home we woked together to follow the instructions, but after 4 days we still didn't have a crystal starting. My guess was that we didn't "saturate" the water enough, so we started over. Again after three days we still didn't have a crystal starting. I decided to look up some more detailed instructions online and was sure that we could get this darn crystal growing. Rick worked with Luke on the third attempt and once again we failed to grow a crystal. I tried once AGAIN, this time with a skewer (as opposed to yarn) rolled in sugar. This was the internet's best suggestion for getting your sugar crystal to grow. Four days later and nothing. Five days. Six days. Seven days, I poured out the whole sugary mess and called Luke's teacher to report that he would not be bringing in a sugar crystal, although we made many attempts!

Luke had strep throat the week of Thanksgiving and missed the whole week of classes leading up to the break. I stopped in one morining to get his homework and his teacher explained the math homework to me and said what a hard time the students were having catching on to the new way of doing multiplication. New way of doing multiplication? Don't we just multiply and regroup? Nope. That is WAY old school. Way 1980's. Now we use "friendly numbers", "communitive property", "half and double". There were seriously 5 different ways for the students to do their multiplication, none of which included regrouping. No wonder why the kids were having such a hard time. I couldn't even remember the many steps of each different way of doing things. I had to keep referring back to the teacher's copy that she made for me. I guess I understand that this new math isn't about knowing how do math, it is about UNDERSTANDING how to do math. Big difference. For instance, way back when kids start learning addition, they are now taught to do "double plus one", or "double minus two", or even "number families." Silly me, I still just add on my fingers! Back to the Thanksgiving math homework. I was getting annoyed to death with these new ways of doing things. At one point I thought that I had it broken down well enough

Me: Now you have it broken down and you just have to multiply 10 by 3.
Luke: I can't do that, mom.
Me. Yes you can. You know that when you multiply any number by 10 you just have to add a zero to the end of the number.
Luke: I know that, but we aren't suppose to do any double digit multiplication. I can't do 10 x 3.

Honestly? Luckily Luke was actually pretty good at this "new math" and figured most of it out without my help. But, even with Luke's help even I couldn't figure one question out. It was a story problem which not only did you need to figure out, but then it said "Sally got 1020 for her answer. What did she do wrong and how would you tell her to fix it." I HONESTLY couldn't figure it out.

What did Sally do wrong?

She doesn't know how to multiply and regroup.