Discussions with My Grandsons

We return home tomorrow after spending several vacation days with our son and our grandsons. They are now 10 and 12 years old, so my husband and I wonder when or if they’ll ever tire of spending time with us when we visit. I hope the boys will continue to enjoy spending time with us

I brought a book called Caravan to the North: Misael’s Long Walk by Jorge Argueta to read with Jace and Jayden. I wasn’t sure what they would think of it, but we had great discussions. I loved hearing their thoughts, their questions, and their views about immigration and the border wall. They speculated on what might have happened to Misael and empathized with him and the other travelers in the caravan. Additionally, they pointed out figurative language in the book (similes, metaphors, personification, idioms). I really miss sharing books with them.

Recently, I’ve been reading a lot of blogs about math education. I saw this slide that Sunil Singh shared, and it got me really thinking. Can teachers teach math like the picture on the right if they’ve learned it through a staircase model? I wish I knew.

I also read this blog by Mark Chubb: The Type of Questions We Ask: Which categories of questions should we focus on? As a teacher and a principal at an elementary school, I was focusing on mathematical understanding when I realize we should have been reaching for mathematical thinking. Our 7th grade grandson loves math and is pretty good at it, but I wondered if he had opportunities to have discussions in math class. We took some of Mark Chubb’s questions and had math discussions. It was a great experience to really delve deeper into the questions. I must admit that I was pretty good at math in school, but I forgot most of what I learned. I know it’s because the questions were probably at the “knowledge” level with one right answer. If only I had more time to have these kinds of discussions with both of my grandsons.

We’ll see our son and grandsons later this month in Hawaii. I’m going to make sure we have time to read books together and have math discussions. I think they’ll enjoy it as much as I will!