My upcoming class of students are a wholesome group of small town people. Our town of just under 2,000 people is tucked away in the Sierra Nevada Mountains where the kids have all grown up. My students have been together since the very beginning, some as far back as diapers. From intellectual to musical, autistic, athletic, and beyond, I have a typical American classroom.
One common thread among each student is that they are all athletes: baseball, wrestling, soccer, gymnastics, dance, I even have jiu jitsu athletes!
This common theme in small town life rings true throughout our school. Typically, if the kids aren't camping in the woods, they are on some kind of sporting turf with their parents, teachers, and siblings in the crowd. I hope to build our community within the classroom based around the common thread of sports.
Have you ever heard of March Madness? What about March Madness MATH? If you haven't, look it up! It's an all out math battle, tournament bracket style, that focuses on strategy, math algorithms, and a little bit of luck. The best part is that it can be used for any sports tournament; NCAA Football Championship, NBA playoffs, or Local High School tournaments are just some of the tournament "themes". That's just one way I aim to inspire kids to get excited about topics such as math, but I hope to thread the tone of College ambition into all disciplines.
I want to create a classroom that inspires college aspirations in young students.
An athlete myself, I formed allegiances to certain colleges such as Stanford when I was a young girl and aspired to go to a University like that one when I graduated solely based on my love of their sports teams. I want to adorn our Math Tournament Wall with college pennants from across the US, introducing my 4th graders to many college options early and often.
Each student will be assigned a team at the beginning of each math tournament. But the team does not only relate to math; they will research different elements of the college such as geographic location, historic events, scientific achievements, and more, weaving in interdisciplinary teaching moments throughout the school year and capitalizing on our 4th grade standard of US History. In addition, reading, writing, and debate will all be incorporated into projects. And it all starts with a little bit of inspiration from a very cool pennant!
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