Well, the first day came and went and I was still excited about going back the second day. That's got to be good news!
I am blessed to have such a lovely bunch of "curious cats" in my class.
I think I did the lion's share of the learning in the first two days - having to learn all of their names and then begin to work out some personality and learning traits. At least they had some fun while I did some learning. When we return to school tomorrow it will be their turn to start some serious learning!
I tried a simple Mathematics Investigation to see if they had an understanding of place value, and also to see how they were able to work with a partner. Each pair was given a fistful of matchsticks and were challenged to work out how many matchsticks there were altogether.
As they tried to solve the problem I noted some of the strategies they used, and then stopped them after a while to discuss these strategies.
All of the children realised that moving the matchsticks as they counted in some sort of systematic way made the task much easier. Some students split the group into two so each partner had a turn to count, but funnily enough, none of them counted the separate groups first then added to find the total. They waited for one partner to finish counting, then the second started. Even the pair of boys who counted simultaneously and could tell me that one of them had 53 and the other had 58 still counted on from 53 in ones to get to the total. When I write "58 + 53" on the board, they could tell me the total, but it hadn't occurred to them that they could add.
Not one group used grouping to help them count, which surprised me, so I stopped them and we looked at a hundreds board and saw how it was in rows of ten and that made it faster to count to 100 because we could count in tens. After this guidance (and a bit more hinting) the students tried to count their matchsticks again, this time, grouping them into bunches of ten. THis was much easier for them!