Tuesday, February 21, 2012

New Interdisciplinary Unit - Walk Two Moons

Happy Tuesday to everyone! It feels like Monday, after having Presidents' Day off. We almost forgot to bring the garbage and recycling cans down. Which is really really not pretty in a house with 3 boys, 2 cats and a dog for Mommy to clean up after. Having Mondays off really messes with the rhythm at school too, for kids and teachers alike. Is it band or choir? My homework is due on Wednesday? You mean that's TOMORROW??? 

The day off also messes with the nightly TV watching schedules, making a decent bed time nearly impossible. Take last night for instance... my husband and I started Moneyball at 9:30, thinking no problem! Oh wait, it's a two-hour movie!! But it was worth it. And oh, the data connections with RBI and ERA and errors, etc... I have even spotted students reading the book at school! Have any of the Language Arts teachers written an Accelerated Reader test for that yet??? 

Continuing on the theme of books and TV and other connections, I have to give a shout out to my wonderful Language Arts team member (she knows who she is) who encouraged me to read Walk Two Moons recently. The hope was that we could teach some interdisciplinary themes related to mathematics and nature, and the interconnectedness of people and events in our lives. 

In Language Arts, the students are learning about "string theory", as they read the book and watch the new Fox show "Touch". The son of the main character is autistic, and is only able to communicate through numbers. The Fibonacci Sequence is referred to verbally and through phone designs and other visual cues in the pilot episode. 

In Science, our team teacher is showing the students how the Fibonacci Sequence shows up in nature, in common patterns like an unfolding frond or a snail shell. Some of these interdisciplinary connects were planned; others just randomly cropped up and shocked us teachers into silence. 

In math, I decided to look into the major "red strings" in Sal's life, and how her connections grow as she journeys both physically and metaphorically through the events of the book. Starting with her birth, and working forward through her immediate family life, and issues, then through the main events of the story and beyond. It looked an awful lot like a mind map web activity when I was done (or students could do this themselves). 

I won't give out any spoilers that might ruin the book for those of you who haven't read it; suffice it to say, I was shocked to find that the number of connections in the book grows in an almost LINEAR pattern!!! WHAT!?!?!

Which got me thinking, is this just a total fluke coincidence? Or would students come up with the same data? So I wrote a math lesson, which I hope some day to expand into a series of math/language arts interdisciplinary topics (whenever I get around to writing it). Keep an eye on my Teachers Pay Teachers site for it, maybe this summer? In the mean time, you can get a non-copyable picture version if you just can't wait to try it yourself. I will report back with results next week from my own classes. Huzza Huzza.

P.S./Related Side Note: My husband and I had a kid-free night on Saturday at the cabin in Hinckley. We decided to try out a new restaurant on the Wisconsin side of the border, in Danbury. We normally hit up the Wild Waters Sports Bar which has great food and a north-woodsy welcoming atmosphere. On a whim, we switched things up and drove to the LumberJack Saloon & Eatery on Webb Lake instead. As we ventured further and further into the middle of nowhere, surrounded on both sides by thick pine and dense underbrush, we started to wonder if we were lost! 

After nearly half an hour of intermittent and relatively unhelpful Garmin App driving directions, we finally located the restaurant parking lot, shuffled our penguin walks across the iced gravel, and entered through two sets of doors into the little neighborhood restaurant. No sooner had we opened the door, when a curly haired, blonde woman stood up and shouted, "CHRIS!?!?!" at my husband! (Which is his name). 

Turned out to be a coworker from a job that Chris hadn't worked at in close to 7 years. They just happened to be at their cabin as well, and had also just happened to decide to go out that night. Call it random, or coincidence, or string theory, or whatever, it was BIZARRE. Like the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. Did you know he has his own game now!? I'm telling you, it's ALL RELATED!!!


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