Week #33 Updates (2018)

We have 34 days of school left after today! A few of the kids helped convert our Pi chain into a school countdown chain. It is really hard to believe that the year is nearly over. However, as I remind myself … the entire summer is just about 75 days so 34 days is longer than the kids think! We still have a lot of learning to do in these last weeks of school. If you are interested in knowing how things fall out for the last portion, I have planned everything out in the calendar views on each class so you can see what is coming up. We will end the year with about 6-8 days of review and a final exam. I think it is important to have the opportunity to review and really focus broadly on what we learned this year as we conclude 7th grade.

In pre-Algebra we’re learning about reflections, translations, and dilations. We’ve also just learned the Pythagorean Theorem. Watching the kids as they realized they could find the length of the diagonal side of a right triangle or shape involving a right triangle was magical. It prompted me to share a story with them. My husband is always asking me to join the Community Chorus with him. “You like to sing” he’ll say. My question is always, “how much do we get to socialize?” Oh about 5 minutes. In my head I’m thinking, “I want to see people and hang out but 5 minutes of socializing to over 2 hours of singing isn’t the right mix for me.” The point is that my reason for singing isn’t singing …  (now I may join someday because I do like to sing, but I don’t LOVE to sing the way he does). Anyway, it was so clear from watching your kids that most of them LOVE math. They were genuinely excited to learn something new that could help our essential question –  “How do I use math to turn something I don’t know into something that I know.” That makes for a super fun class period!!

In Math 7 we’re finishing up angle equations. That has been another fun thing to watch the kids learn. These started off so challenging last week and now the lightbulbs are going off as kids are confidently saying, “oh and these two angles are complementary so I can write this equation.” One cool thing in Math 7 is that we’ve been able to have more kids using the iPad to present in class. It is great to have the kids at the board sharing their thinking for Geometry. In period 9 the kids are practically pouncing on each other to get an opportunity to have a turn up there. Thursday was great when one student modeled exactly what his brain was thinking. “and then I saw this .. and then I realized that” etc.

We also did a lab in Math 7 where the goal was to discover the Triangle Inequality Theorem. Very few kids were able to discover it, but we did have a few catch onto the pattern in each class, giving us something to launch a class discussion from. One thing about Geometry is that it is similar to those pixilated posters – it is just a blob of confusion until you get it and then once you see it there is that true lightbulb moment. I shared the story in a couple of classes about my new love of Bikram Yoga at Pure Sweat (slow yoga in 106 degree room for 90 minutes). I have attended 5 classes now and I adore it, but I am truly the WORST person in every class I’ve attended. Very inflexible, if I was measuring myself against others I’d decide not to go back. We talked about this in period 9 and how just because we don’t see things first (or maybe we never see them), it doesn’t mean we aren’t able to grow and get better and develop our math brains. I’m confident that I’ll improve in yoga and I’m seeing your kids improve daily in math!

In the final few weeks, remind your child to bring calculators, pencils, binders and really try to keep a reasonable bedtime. I’m finding that with the longer days and more busy evenings that even kids who regularly get enough sleep are feeling tired and stressed. Anything you can do to support that regular schedule at home will help them not just for math but for all their classes.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions.