Sometimes there IS more than one right way…

I remember doing math homework throughout my days in school and it was painful.  It wasn’t that I struggled with math it’s that my dad is an accountant.  Yep he majored in accounting and has a minor in math.  Ok then you’d think this would make it easier to get help when I did struggle right?  Yeah, no.  See Dad always had a different way of doing the problems than I had been taught.  His way worked but I knew if I did it his way I wouldn’t get the credit and it drove both of us crazy.  He insisted on showing us his way, I remember my brother and sister calling me when I was at college to get help with their math over the phone because they wanted to know the “right” way to do the work.

Now as a teacher I realize we want to teach our students certain methods of doing things however we also need to be open to multiple ways of doing things and getting the right answer.

So how did I come by this thought again?  I’ve been teaching myself to knit again only this time I’m doing it continental style.  My grandma taught me to knit years ago around the same time she taught me to crochet and while I took to crochet easily and have made many things throughout the years knitting just didn’t seem to work for me, it was to slow and awkward.  I’ve tried again several times through the years including actually knitting a whole baby blanket for my son while I was pregnant but I never got faster at it like I thought I would.  Ironically with all the things I’ve crocheted through the years and the number of blankets I’ve made for my son it was the knitted one we used in his newborn pictures lol.

Not long ago I heard of continental knitting and that it was easier for experienced crocheters to pick up, so I looked up a video on youtube (than heaven for the internet) and gave it a go.  I’ve been working on a shawl for the prayer shawl ministry at church and actually enjoying knitting.  It has reminded me that there is more than one right way sometimes, and different ways work better for different people.

A few years ago when we first moved back to St. Louis I was a classroom assistant in a building working with some outstanding fourth grade teachers.  I remember sitting in class with one while her kids worked on math, as they went over problems if a student had solved it some other way but gotten the same answer they were eager to share that with her as she was very accepting of different methods.  This is the way a classroom should be, we shouldn’t get so hung up on certain methods that we overlook the fact that children learn differently and some kids may do better using a different method.

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4 Comments

  1. Great ideas! I believe that Common Core Math solutions are going to frustrate many a parent. So, we must be flexible with children and their parents. It won’t be easy, but will make parents more comfortable.

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