Words are Gifts

A Different Lesson


We decided to celebrate a departure and were sent packets of colorful balloons. Most children, no matter what their age is, get extremely excited when they see balloons, especially when they have to blow them. Attempting to blow the balloons the students spoke;

R  – How big should mine be?

B  – This is my tactic.

R  – It is impossible!

S  – Can you help?

S  – Almost no one can do it.

B – Except R.

R – I just keep blowing really hard.

S – How do you blow it?

S – Show us.

Watching the students from a distance, I decided to record their thrill. As I was writing their conversation down, they asked each other questions, offered help to one another and showed off their strategies. R was able to figure it out and shared her strategy. Although R said it would be impossible at the beginning, she persevered.

I suddenly connected their conversation to some of our Math lessons, and how students feel when they are introduced to new topics. Most wonder how to approach the calculations and similar conversations ensue.

Later on that day, there were more balloons to be blown. As soon as they were taken out of the bag there was a scramble for them. A couple of students successfully blew theirs and shared their completely different methods. Interestingly, I realized as I matched the words to the students, the words each particular student spoke showed the way they approach their work in class. Blowing Balloons… Math?







7 responses to “A Different Lesson”

  1. That’s awesome – It’s so powerful to stand back and observe our kids while they are doing something — I think I always make new connections and learn something when I do that! (Plus, you got a slice out of it!)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I might have to steal this. Absolutely brilliant connection to academics and perseverance. Great discussion to have with the kids.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Love this! Math is truly everywhere, it’s often up to us to get out of the way of kids and allow them to make the connections.


  4. Talk about growth mindset! I can almost hear their excitement and see their bright smiles as I read. This is such a great idea- so creative and fun for your students to experience!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. What a great idea to document the conversations the kids were having about blowing up their balloons – and then connecting it to how they learn math.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. “offered help to one another and showed off their strategies”… The community spirit is evident in your class through this. It is a joy to see children offering kindness in moments like these. I loved the connection made to math, their approach says a lot.


  7. I loved the connection you made. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

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About Me

I am am Elementary school teacher at an International IB School in Accra, Ghana, West Africa. I write with groups of writers, such as Teach Write.


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