Some of this might be a repeat of another post, but you just never know what you may be doing for students, no matter the age. I do the box project with my 4th graders at University Lake School during the school year, but this summer, the box project has gone on the road: First Presbyterian Church, Youth for Christ, Twitter Math Camp...and next to UWM's College for Kids in August.
Yesterday was the Youth for Christ group's last session. The boys were surprised when I gave each of them a specially made bald eagle box. They gave me hugs and thank yous, but I don't think it was just for the gifts. I think it came from showing them something they could do, and giving them my time. Even high school students focused to make some cool boxes. During this time with these boys, only 6-7 sessions, I heard, "This is the best thing I've ever made," and "I'm giving this to my girlfriend." From a box! :)
Teachers, and adults in general, just never know what they can do to touch a kid's heart. When the box idea came to me, I had no idea it would mean so much to so many people, in various ways. I thanked these boys for giving boxes a chance, and for working hard to make their own creations. Those hugs were pretty special and I wish these guys all the best.
Our teaching of math, or any subject, can be much more than numbers, procedures and problem-solving. It's that, but it's much more. Kids' reaction to boxes is proving to me again that flow in a classroom can be nurtured with a variety of things, especially if we give it all we've got and love along the way.
© 2015 Peter J. Wilson
Peter Wilson teaches fourth grade at University Lake School, in Hartland, WI.