Monday, March 23, 2015

this day in New York...

Inside Cathedral St. John the Divine 
My wife and I are tourists in New York on this day as my daughter teaches 6th grade math and 7th grade science through the week. Other than dinner tonight, we are off parental involvement except for the occasional coaching made possible by Skype, texting, and telephonic communication. The importance of good teachers was made clear as we got off the subway in Lucy's neighborhood yesterday afternoon. Two of her students and a dad were so excited to see her that they called out and grilled her about the package she carried. "Is that for our math class?" one asked. Lucy answered honestly, that it was for her apartment, but could have answered, "Yes, It's full of numbers." That, too, would have been true, for how many numbers would fit in a package, 3 in. x 18 in. x 42 in.? Lots, I dare say.

It was interesting visiting Lucy in her classroom, watching her call 31 students in that class to order, maintaining their participation through a well scripted plan. I know that a class of 30 can be taught. I have questions of how effective it is, and how many are left out of the loop, when just a bit more attention at the right time, might have won them over to a love of math. And once loving math, what might have become of them. I know this because I have become a lover of math, but only after I've learned and discovered on my own how things work. For example, in measuring the area of a triangle, with no right angled intersections, why does the formula: base times height divided by 2 work? Give a kid a pair of scissors and allow him the time to discover the answer on his own. That is a hard thing to do with 31 kids in a class, and much easier with 15.

Over the weekend, wood shop teacher Richard Baseley in Australia also visited IKEA, but in Melbourne, where he managed to leave empty handed. (No meatballs?) His idea was to search through the world of K-D furniture for something that might inspire his kids. The world is so full of stuff these days, that making things is no longer a necessity except to the human spirit. Our human character and intellect arrived in the first place through the exercise of craftsmanship.

Make, fix and create...

No comments:

Post a Comment