I think sometimes we are overly cautious when it comes to learning. There is good reason for this cautiousness, as some students do best when walked carefully along the path of incremental success, but become bored at this slower pace. Thus, sometimes I wonder if we don’t give children enough opportunity to face new learning, especially with math.
A student of mine was finishing up second grade math, so I graduated him to 3rd grade math for his summer practice. I adjusted the learning path to 3rd grade, but I forgot to change the unit placement to Unit 1. Thus, he was actually placed on the Comprehensive unit of 3rd grade, material he’s never been taught before! He was 3 practices in before I realized my mistake. However, he was doing great, with an average score of 95% on his practices.
I realized he was using his mathematical intuition and sense of numerical understanding to attack these challenging new problems. And I am reminded that sometimes, when cast into the open waters, children simply figure out how to swim.
Have any happy mistakes helped you realize new things about your students?
Dr. Michelle Anthony