so today . . . there were apparently supernatural powers at work in my classroom . . .
i am still playing catch up from being gone on friday. we are in that time of year when the curriculum gets very busy. so even though i stretched their little brains a bit yesterday, we had to press on today. and today's new concept was--dun, dun, duuuunnnn--"the missing addend."
i hate teaching this. i think it is the dumbest thing to try to teach to five year olds! they have just started adding and are up to sums of 5, and then suddenly we ask them to figure out what you have to add to a given number to get a certain sum? really??
in the past, i have explained this word for word out of the curriculum teaching guide. i have explained it using my own words. i have explained it using math manipulatives and felt cut-outs and cookies. real ones. we have practiced using the pictures provided on their worksheets (which, btw, if you have to give them pictures to help them figure it out, maybe it is too hard for them!!!!!) and have even resorted to having them use their fingers. every year about half the kids figure out how to get the right answer, a few more will get really good at copying the right answer from whoever is sitting next to them, and some kids will try really, really hard and still not have a clue . . .
i would just skip it if i could, but it keeps showing up on their math papers, so their parents kind of expect me to teach it. although why kindergarteners need to know 2 + ? = 5 is beyond me.
but today was the day. and it was a busy one, so i only had about 10 minutes to introduce them to this "important" concept. i got out some math manipulatives and sat down at their table. i handed out the math papers and explained what we were going to learn. before i could even get my manipulatives arranged, edward had his fingers out and was saying the right answer to the first problem. ok, well, that was nice, but i was skeptical. and i was right--it was beginner's luck. so i plowed on through the rest of the lesson, with one eye on the clock. because recess was fast approaching . . .
as we practiced, two of the kids were starting to get it and one was probably thinking about lunch! but i could tell that edward really wanted to give me the right answer! he was working hard each time i gave them a new problem, but he was just enough slower than the others that he could never be the one to give the answer. he was getting a little bit frustrated, and we were running out of time. finally, i told them we were on the last problem. i gave it to them and waited, watching edward and hoping he would be the one to get it this time. they were all working it out in their own way, and when one of the other kids said the right answer first, edward just looked at him.
then he looked at me, shook his head, and said, "he just read my mind!"