Sunday, May 13, 2012

Car Wash

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Roman Numerals

Weekend post-breakfast conversations usually start with a question posed by my daughter.  Today's question was, "What is the roman numeral for seven?"

"A capital V with two capital I's."

"What about eight?"

"A capital V with three capital I's."

"What about the rest?"

I found a piece of paper and pen, and based on my limited knowledge, began writing out roman numerals and explained how they work.  When I wrote down "C", the conversation turned into language, as "C" stands for centum (Latin for hundred). 

"That's why a centurion is named, well, a centurion.  He commands a group of one hundred men." 

"And why century is called century.  It's one hundred years!" 

"Yes. It's where the French get cent (hundred) and why we call our penny a cent".


"It's out of one hundred, or one dollar.  Like percent."

"How does that work?"

Our discussion continues with whole numbers, tenths, hundredths, percents, fractions and decimals.

Then, a younger brother appears.

"Play with me, Fiona!"


Switching gears, she leaves the kitchen table with her brother to create imaginary worlds.

I wonder what next week's question will be?

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Thursday, May 3, 2012

A Promise Kept

One of my students asked, "What are you eating?"

I answered, "Banana bread."

A pause, then, "Is it good?"

In between chews I replied, "Yes, very good."

Another pause.

"Who baked it?"

Smiling, I said, "My wife."

A longer pause, then, partly joking, partly serious (as middle-schoolers are), "You should bring some for all of us next time."

"Ok, I will."

Today I kept my promise. Close to the end of math period a number of students asked for help in understanding a math question.

"What does this word mean?"

The word was halved. Aha! A teachable moment.

I said, "Wait, let me show you seeing as I have to keep a promise I made, anyway."

I reached behind my desk, grabbed a cloth bag and set it on a student desk.

"What's in there, Mr. K.?"

I pulled out the bread knife first for effect. Then, I reached in the bag, pulled out the loaf.

"It's bread!"

I unwrapped the loaf, picked up the knife and cut the loaf in half.

"There, I halved the loaf."

"Oh, we knew that. We were just testing you."

(Uh, huh.)

I proceeded to slice the bread and asked the students to help themselves.

"This is really good!"

The bread was delicious (a shout out to my spouse who baked it - thanks!).

It wasn't the teachable moment that really mattered this morning, or that we ate banana bread together. What mattered, especially to the students that I teach, is that a promise was made, and more importantly, was kept.