I was lucky to spend some time with the students today amidst report cards going home, a thank you luncheon, general end of year business and a farewell assembly.
I wanted to look at a combinations math problem with the students. As soon as I explained it, a student said, "it's like the three hats problem but different" and I went on to explain the difference between permutations and combinations in a way that I hoped grade 3s could understand! I set the context as I was packing my bag for a quick summer holiday and packed three tops (donated by the students) and two pairs of shorts (found in our lost&found) and two hats (actually toques, again from our lost&found). I modeled what one outfit would like and a student told me I looked ridiculous!
I asked the students to think of another outfit combination (one of each type of clothing) and asked for a few students to share their examples and they pointed to the different pieces as they explained their combinations. I had hoped to have the students work in small groups and record all the different combinations they could come up with when we came back from the assembly but we only had 10 minutes left when I had thought we'd have 30 minutes. Instead, I asked the students to explain how they would record the combinations. They said they would draw the clothes, some would use colour or number/letter coding and some would draw a diagram or chart of some sort. I asked them if they thought we could find all the combinations quickly together and I ended up doing a bit of a jig as I pointed to each piece with my foot and we systematically went through all the combinations. Kind of a fun way to end our time together, eating freezies too as we did this!
I also had some time with the students in the morning and we had some time to explore the school's new iPad 2s and we released the final group of painted lady butterflies. It was such a joy to be outside with the students and seeing the butterflies take flight.
As I said good-bye to the students and gave them each a card and DVD of our photos and animoto videos, I told them it was an honour and a pleasure to teach them this year and that they had taught me so much. One of the girls thought this was so funny - that I had learned from them, so I explained a little more. I explained that every day when we worked together on a math problem or a science investigation, we were learning together and how they learned and responded to things taught me things about being a better teacher.
This has been such an incredible year of professional and personal growth for me and I will cherish this special year I had with division 6.