Thursday, January 27, 2011

pedro and the magic pot

I was smart this week (it happens occasionally!) -- I knew the storm was coming, and I rescheduled J's guitar/piano lessons for yesterday, so I had already planned for a full "schoolwork" day today.

Today we worked with a story called "Pedro and his Magic Pot," which is a traditional Mexican trickster tale that I heavily modified from the format I found it in. In this story, Pedro swindles a bunch of mule traders by cooking frijoles in a pot that seemed to be cooking with out a fire. (Really, Pedro had prepared a fire initially, then buried it so that it looked like it was bare ground, when really there were hot embers underneath.) Above is J's depiction of the trick, below is Zoo Boys' "magic pot."

Zoo Boy was much happier with the writing today, even taking lots of extra time to get fancy with the title and use a different colored pencil for each letter.

Below, J gets creative with his word problem work. He's been doing this lately -- illustrating his math tablet. I find it incredibly clever, in this one he wrote out equations used to figure out word problems that I associated with yesterday's "Pedro and the Magic Tree" story. Pretty cool.
I had started making up word problems in relation to our story work with our Robin Hood unit, and really liked the way it tied in with our other work, making it even more "real" to my kids than the problems I was making up about life in general. So I've kept up with this, using word problems from the previous day's story (the same story we recalled, drew, and summarized during our story work that day).

In addition, I have also started telling the problems from a different perspective than that in the story, to get them to start thinking about different perspectives in a very gentle, natural way. So for instance, the Pedro stories are told from Pedro's perspective. Today, I gave them word problems from the Mule Driver's perspective. For instance, I said that there were 5 mule drivers who were driving 18 mules to market. On the way, they met a man who bought 6 mules. How many mules did they have left to drive to market? As they passed through the desert, they met a man named Pedro, who they camped overnight with. How many people were camping in the desert that night? The next morning, they awoke to find that Pedro had made frijoles in a magic pot. There were 18 frijoles in the pot. How may frijoles could each man eat? The magic pot was just amazing, and the Mule Drivers knew they could use such a handy item, so they talked Pedro into selling it to them for 50 pesos. If they all chipped in equally, how much did they each contribute?

It's just another way of bringing in our comprehension and language arts and flexible thinking skills into our math work. I love when everything weaves together in a tapestry of learning!!

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