Covid-19 Teaching Diary Day 15: Remote Learning Rainy Days

It always struck me how the weather affected my students. I guess it made sense in theory. Rainy days mean no outdoor recess, and that means more antsy and anxious kids. Still, sometimes their behavior on these days would still catch me off guard.

Today the weather was grey and overcast. Around the middle of the day it began raining.

I don't know if it's fair, since we're not at school, and nobody's had recess for weeks, but I'm blaming the weather for today's "off day" with the kids. It felt like every call was a bit of a struggle.

We have been learning about fractions since before schools closed. And before schools closed I tried a number of different approaches. Since we switched to remote learning I've tried to continue with our curriculum, but at a very, very slow pace.

I wasn't ready for this exchange today. It was meant to be a quick review before looking at a new skill.

Me: "So, if I want to show 1/6, how many equal parts do I need to break this whole into?"

Student A: "Four."

Me: "Okay, Student B, A says, I need four equal parts. Do you agree?"

Student B: Pauses. "Yeah, I agree. It's four."
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I really didn't know how to respond. There are a lot of misconceptions I've gotten used to after teaching fractions to kids for 11 years. Often times kids will struggle with fractions because in some ways they're a radically new idea compared to whole numbers. It's normal for kids to see 1/6 and think of it as representing a ratio (which isn't wrong necessarily) or having an additive or subtractive relationship.

What I"m trying to say is, I might have been ready for "Five" or "Seven," but "Four" really threw me off. And the kids didn't really seem to offer any logic for the answer either. Overall the kids just seemed off today, and I've decided to blame it on the rain.


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