Last spring in elementary school, we had “Dress Like A Teacher Day.” Several of the girls showed up dressed like me–the long skirt, the glasses, and the cardigan sweater. These girls had the ensemble down: I’d actually be delighted to wear some of those outfits! But the accessories my elementary math students sported were befuddling — short pieces of rope they called “math-magical ropes.”
Why ropes? I had no idea why the kids were carrying ropes!
At last someone told me the answer: Apparently one day in class, I was explaining a math concept. But the children were not listening. Instead, they were gazing at a crane with a dangling, rope-like cable operating just outside the classroom window. When I followed their eyes and saw the apparatus, I exclaimed, “Wow! There’s a math-magical rope!”
That was it.
The students may have forgotten that day’s lesson, but they sure remembered the math-magical rope. Students have an astonishing capacity to carry around words that their teachers forget.
It’s helpless. We teachers may never be able to math-magically reverse the number of forgotten words. But we can definitely try to choose the ones that are light and easy to carry.