Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Was this assignment really necessary?

7 comments:

LSM said...

You have got to be kidding. Unfortunately, I'm pretty sure you're not. When my kids were leaning the multiplication facts, the zero facts were just thrown in with the others, like 9x1=, 9x5=,
9x0=, etc.

FreshHell said...

Hmmm, I'd say.....not?

Harriet said...

I am definitely not kidding. This was the first page of a small packet of multiplication facts that came home a couple of days ago (they did them in class; if it had been homework, I would have had a hard time keeping my mouth shut about it). Moreover, it's not even what AJ's been working on in class -- he did this stuff last year. Modifying the math curriculum remains a problem of consistency.

Jeanne said...

I'm surprised they didn't throw in one answer that wasn't zero near the bottom, in the spirit of sadism that makes teachers give out that sheet with the long directions that, at the end, say "now put down your pencil and don't do the rest of the worksheet."

Katie said...

100 of them? Seriously? 20 should have been more than enough, eight would've gotten the point across. Good for AJ doing it all, though. I would've taken a quick glance at the page after doing the first row and written a big old "they're all 0, this is dumb" somewhere on the paper. I actually did that on a sheet where all the answers were eleven.

I remember in second grade doing math sitting next to a girl who was staring at 16+8 like she'd never seen it before. But she had, she'd already answered it on the worksheet. I told her she just had to look at that answer and write it down again.

"You mean it's always going to be the same?" Uhhh, yeah. Math is so often about doing a fiddly little process over and over again that I think they forget to teach the bigger concepts, sometimes.

Michelle said...

I don't get it either. Even I would have said something, and I'm a teacher.

Harriet said...

I'm glad to hear that, Michelle! And thanks for commenting -- it gives me a chance to tell you how much I love reading about your class on your blog. I think AJ probably thought it was silly and kind of fun writing all those zeroes, which is why the assignment got done. Katie, I probably would have written a zero on the first problem and drawn a long arrow through all the other answers. And Katie, you make an excellent point about not explaining the bigger picture. AJ was struggling with the issue of borrowing in multi-column division and subtraction problems. He would frequently put the numbers in the wrong places. We discovered that it was because no one had explained what he was doing when he borrowed, that he was borrowing, say 1 ten and converting it into 10 ones when he moved it over to the next column. Once we got that figured out, it was a piece of cake. I can see how something as basic property of commutativity in addition and multiplication could be omitted and cause confusion.