BANV takes on 4th grade and finds it a challenge


    BANV volunteered in my son’s 4th grade class at Forest Lakes Elementary and boy did I have to use my head. First, I helped them make Power Point slide shows of their science lesson: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. (I don’t use Power Point myself, but I was able to figure it out and hitting control + z to undo their latest keystroke fixed most of their problems.) Then I read all their personal narratives and had to pick out which words each child misspelled most often and add them to their individual spelling word lists. But the really challenging job was making copies of their reading lesson. The teacher needed one double-sided copy and one single-sided copy and gave me just about enough paper to make the exact amount. The machine’s instructional screen had 80 different configurations of paper positions and a dozen paper drawers. I managed to figure it out with only three wasted copies. But it took me so long I missed the math lesson instruction. I was a bit nervous about helping the kids with raised hands when I returned to the room. (Good thing my son and I have been practicing his math multiplication facts. It never was my best subject.) I thought I was faking it pretty good until the teacher asked if I was good at math — good enough to help a student who had a math enrichment worksheet. I mumbled that I had a college degree (not mentioning it was acquired in writing/communications with only a math course in statistics required.) But I took it as a challenge and gave it a go. Once the 4th grader reminded me what a factor was, I understood the problem was really a bit like Sudoku. He needed to arrange the numbers 1 through 6 around a triangle with three numbers on each side. The sums of each side had to be equal. I was determined to figure this out. I grabbed a pen and started scribbling numbers on my palm since I didn’t have a worksheet of my own. I actually got it pretty quickly. I don’t know whether he got it, I was a little preoccupied with my own progress. But he understood the instructions better anyway. I was excited to try the next problem, but then he was saved by the bell. I’m sure he’ll do fine on his own tomorrow.