Making my lessons challenging

Discussion in 'Second Grade' started by vjcdncr, Feb 27, 2008.

  1. vjcdncr

    vjcdncr Rookie

    Feb 17, 2008
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    Feb 27, 2008

    In my field placement, the students switch for math. My math class is the accelerated group of students. I have a hard time making my lessons challenging enough for them. They usually fly right through the material, and say "it's too easy." I'm actually teaching a lesson tomorrow on the calander. I have an idea as to what to do, but I'm still having trouble thinking of ways to make it challenging, because it is a simple topic. Does anyone have any ideas???
  3. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

    Aug 30, 2007
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    Feb 27, 2008

    What kind of topics? What's their grade level?

    Math generally tends to build, and it's not bad to teach to mastery.

    Personally, I was never great at math until high school. In Junior high, I went from the second highest tier of a five-tiered system to the second lowest in a four-tiered system in one year, and spent the next four years laboriously going through material far, far, far too slowly for me.

    My senior year of high school, still in the "lagging behind average" group, though of course doing ridiculously well in that group, and having insights into proofs that surprised the teacher on occasion (surprised as in, he would claim something couldn't be done with the information available, and then I'd show him how it could).

    I had a habit of showing up to school exceptionally early (I liked to watch the sun rise on my way to school; it rose at 6:30, I could see it from a hilltop about halfway through the walk, and school started about 8). I would wander the nearly empty halls of the school, and befriended the only other person there -- the calculus teacher who had an affinity for penguins. I got curious and asked him about the material he was preparing on the board (I guess he didn't like writing on the board during class, and he had a lot of chalkboards that slid to the side or flipped over so he could present material in sequence). He would explain it to me, I'd understand it, and then go out and find people in the hall struggling with it in preparation for a quiz (usually the following day). I'd explain it to them, and they'd thank me. No one knew I was in a math class that was probably four levels below them at the time.

    It was kind of like being Batman.:cool:
  4. MissFroggy

    MissFroggy Aficionado

    Aug 26, 2006
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    Feb 28, 2008

    For the calendar (and it may be too late now) but there is a great activity I did with my third graders where they had to figure out how many school days we had. They counted the days in the calendar excluding weekends, holidays and no school days. It was actually very challenging. Once they counted the days (which took a few sessions) we talked about different strategies for finding the days, such as counting by 5's and subtracting the days missing from weeks with less than 5 days, or counting the days in one month, and adding them to the next month.

    We then compared the number of days we have to the number of days in other countries. This was from the 3rd grade Investigations curriculum. If you don't use that curriculum, I would say it's fair game, since they won't be doing it next year!

    They also found how many days/weeks/months away important days were, like the last day of school, their birthday, Valentine's day (see if they count forward or backwards!)

    For a real challenge, I had kids figure out how old they are in days and weeks. I had one child so interested in that, he figured out how many hours and minutes old he was!

    Each child will need a copy of a calendar, and preferably a school calendar that shows days off like spring break and teacher development days.

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