Saturday, October 18, 2008

Coffee thoughts - multiple ages in the learning environment

This post should follow Family Learning: Converting Fahrenheit to Celcius (turned into a rant on democratic schools):

This morning my son and I were playing around on the internet. Actually, he had woken up and crawled in my lap while I was reading about Eva Braun. I had a dream last night about her children surviving….something about an article that was written before WWII coming back to haunt us…... something about two rivers… one was discovered to be frozen….for some reason that was important. You know how dreams are? I recently read, “Eye of the Needle,” by Ken Follett, so my mind must be wrestling with pieces of the book and my constant flipping between channels 75 and 29.

Anyway, as usual, my son started to quiz me. “What does H K L E spell?” May be when a child is on the verge of reading they have these random letters dancing around in their head mocking them as their minds try to make sense of them. He needs my input to help him crack the code and find a way to stick these random letters together. I guess it’s like my mind as I sleep. I have experiences during my day and at night my mind is trying to file but some things aren’t definable and easily classified so they hang around and torment me. I wake up and look up Eva Braun. Maybe the unsolved information gets left on the surface so that we can figure it out. So, my WWII dream and ABCs are on our minds this morning.

After the spelling quiz my son went over to the dry erase board and began to quiz me in math. “What is C plus 5?” I told him that it could be anything depending on what he wanted C to be. I told him to give me any number and we could find out what C was. We did this a few times until he was satisfied. Then I walked away to start this blog because something about my dream and his first morning thoughts about his ABCs seemed important to me before I finished this cup of coffee.

As I was typing he called me back to the dry erase board and he had written: F=9/3+365 He must have paid attention to his sister’s calculations on the dry erase board the past few days. The formula has been and is still on the board today. I told him that it was easy to solve because 9/3 is another way of expressing the number 3. I solved it and told him that F was 368 and that he had done Algebra today. He looked upset and said, “Now I have to skip to Algebra.”

I assured him that he didn’t have to skip to Algebra.

Now he is singing and playing bottle cap wars with his bottle cap collection.

But, this reminded me of when my oldest was learning Algebra. My daughter played around with some trinomials and factored a few with him. I made sure to make hers easy as she was just seven or eight. I blogged about it back then.

Over the years I have learned and observed the benefits of having different ages or grades learning in one room. I can see how multiple stages and ages are a good blend in the learning environment. They influence and challenge each other…….

Just sharing my morning thoughts over coffee.

I forgot to mention that at one point he asked me, "What is a google plus a google?" I answered with, "TWO google." He said, "No because a google is a mystery number." I went with it because he was defining google as a mystery number and he drew it as circles in circles. We could work with that. I just thought that was interesting. I guess to him as he learns how to add and subtract he watches his sister as she seemingly breaks all of the rules so he breaks and creates them too.