I swear this is the last time I'm going to gloat about my red splat. Seriously.
Generally, I begin the week with a Number Talk from Shery Parish's Number Talks book (@NumberTalks). We focus on one strategy and work on progressively difficult problems as the week unfolds. Fridays are "FUN FRIDAY" which obviously means we do fraction work in place of our standard sense-making routine! I use the resources at www.fractiontalks.com or "Fraction SPLATS" at Steve Wyborney's site, www.stevewyborney.com.
There was NO WAY I could wait to share the red splat with my students till Friday. This was, OPEN UP YOUR MATH LESSON ON THE MONDAY MORNING AFTER THANKSGIVING material! When I told the students that we received a response from Steve the excitement in the room was palpable. When I posted his response on our SmartBoard and the students learned about their access to EXCLUSIVE slides with a RED splat they nearly lost their minds.
I decided that we'd try to solve the first "puzzle" only that morning as I anticipated that it would challenge my students.
TRUTH: It was hard for many of my kids. The language in the clue was complex and required that they process multiple ideas simultaneously. I think it was the personalized note at the beginning of the slideshow that had my students so determined to figure out what was under the red splat. They read the clue COUNTLESS times in order to make sense of the problem (without my prompting!) They experimented with a lot of different strategies. Most were strategies they'd developed when we worked on regular spalt and fraction splat puzzles. Many used guess and check to settle on an answer. No one frustrated, even after MANY failed attempts.
Steve made the math really personal for my students today. In their minds, an internet celebrity designed a math experience just for them. They saw it for the gift that it was and they treated the experience as such! Many students were able to walk away with a correct solution after lots of time to work and many failed attempts. Even those who did not come away with an effective solution, worked hard to make sense of the work of their peers when it was shared out.
I wish I could recreate that sense of agency, excitement, determination to make sense, and to succeed every day. Today was a gift. Thanks again Steve Wyborney!