Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Visit to KIPP Academy Elementary

World Tour of Maths Day 1

I would like to thank Mrs Carolyn Pettruzziello for allowing me to visit her school today and also the other staff that I spent time with. As the first school in the World Tour of Maths, I greatly appreciated the opportunity to visit classes and meet with the staff.

You know you are walking into a caring school when the principal meets every child at the front door with a smile and a kind word. 

And the big thing I noticed today was the interest that the teachers took in their children. They really cared - you can't fake that level of genuine interest.

KIPP Academy Elementary - a school that cares about its kids

Maths in the Classroom

I spent most of my classroom time with 3rd Grade. This was interesting for me as I taught this level just 2 years ago. 

I must say, the little kippsters knew their number facts. They were excellent with their recall of tables facts, even those odd ones like 7 x 6 and 8 x 9. Great work to get these little guys up to this.

Show Your Work

I was really impressed with some things I saw. The first thing was the great teacher questioning used to tune the kids in to what they were doing - in this case area and perimeter.

When they moved to some written questions, I saw an interesting thing. Each of the questions asked the student to "Show your work".

Without exception, every kid I saw in 3rd Grade started with a diagram. What a great strategy - draw a picture!

Next, I saw that (just about all) the students then wrote down a formula for working out area. Then they substituted values into the equation. Pretty advanced procedure for this age but certainly gave them a solid basis for problem solving.

Metric or Imperial?

I did notice that the worksheet the kids were using contained some questions using measurements in metric and others in the imperial scale. Is it common in the USA to use both? Is this a bit confusing for the kids? I know I would struggle to give it meaning if I was the one solving the problem. And were they actually measuring anything then or was it an activity involving number calculations with little reference to measurement? Just make sure you get the right unit of measurement written at the end of the answer.

Ah...bring on tomorrow and a new adventure on a galaxy far, far away...

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