Very quickly, the project presentations have started and–phew!–the kids have really done so well! As an experiment in “open” inquiry, I am really pleased with the overall results. There’s already been a good variety of media used, and even some edibles! While the process really was the biggest point for me (and I hope for them), the product is so far demonstrating that they have a) a deeper understanding of the subject they’ve dug into, and b) a continuing desire to learn. Questions leading to questions–that’s inquiry!
Next Friday, June 9th, we would like to invite you to our class to talk to us about our projects, ask questions and so on. I think we’ll do it last block, so 2:00 to 3:00. Come if you’re able.
Fidget Spinner Math Day!
The biggest risk to holding a day built around fidget spinners was that people who previously had no interest in them would fall in love with fidget spinners, including me. And yes, I do really like the things–they’re kinda cool and pretty addictive. (But more on that later). We had some fun, and applied/practised a wide variety of math skills: addition, multiplication, division, subtraction, calculating averages, using calculators, time, linear measurement, tons of stuff around data management. Tomorrow we’ll use the data to do some graphing and further analysis of our results. It felt like real science. (And full disclosure: I didn’t think up most of these activities–the idea of building a day around the gadgets just made sense to me).
So, tomorrow is also June 1st, the day we (okay, I) declared the beginning of Fidget-Spinner-Free Month! Here’s the thing: they really are a pain in class. Even today, we could see that anybody with one in reach could hardly focus on instructions. Yes!–some people (including me) really do pay attention better if they are doing things with their hands. Your child may be such a person. But two months ago, nobody needed a fidget spinner and lately about 18 people have. Any such aid requires some training and understanding. There are lots of other, quieter options that can be used in their desk, in their pocket, without detracting from the attention of everybody around them. And, alas, in spite of my repeated efforts to put in place “proper use” guidelines, there have been times where so many of them are visibly spinning I start to feel dizzy.
Sometimes it is like a mini autobody shop in the middle of any given class, with little spinners in various pieces all over desks. As cool as that kind of exploration is–not in the middle of…well, you get it.
So, hooray for the fun and active learning today, a good reminder of what math should look like maybe more often! Hooray for awesome kids! Hooray for the amazing technology of ball-bearings and the dynamics of gravity!
And thanks for leaving your fidget spinners in your backpack or at home. Hooray for that!
I’ll end this post with how the day started, creating a little fidget-spinner poetry. I began (and later ended) the poem, a collection of rhyming couplets. I’ll leave it to you, our readership, to decide if these little gadgets are improving our poetic abilities:
The Magic of Fidget Spinners
He said, “I’m taking these spinners, they are driving me mad!”
But he didn’t know the magical powers that the spinners had.
|Joe took his spinner out of his pocket,
He spun it quite fast–it turned into a rocket!
|Fred put his spinner into his hand
And all of a sudden, it turned into sand!
|Jeff put his spinner in his hand,
And suddenly he turned to sand!
|Yuma spun his awesome Lego spinner,
He went to a fair, and he was the winner!
|All colours of fidget spinners there in the store,
When one got bought there were a thousand more!
|My fidget spinner red and black spun super fast
Then there was an atomic blast
I had a fidget spinner, it spun and spun
And then it flew into the sun
|I had a pocket full of spinners,
But when I spun it turned into My dinner
|I had spun a spinner that was very disturbing,
It was a terrible habit hard to be curbing!
| Nobody in the world was interacting
The spinner was just too distracting!
|Liam had 5 spinners but bradley had none
…But bradley had a nerf gun.
|Some spinners are rainbow, yellow, green and cool
But mine is the only one who can spin in the pool!
|As the spinner spins the world around fades
When it’s very sunny outside it turns everything into shades.
|Ehk’lu spun Trinity’s favorite spinner .
It went so fast it was always the winner.
|There’s blue there’s green there’s purple and pink
Fidget spinners are magical and I think they just winked.
|Fidget spinners can do many things,
But mines the only one with wings.
|Laying in bed spinning light
To keep you from feeling any fright
|And so…did the teacher change his mind?
Not much chance, I think you’ll find.