Friday, March 9, 2012

Magical Thinking

“You’re magical!” said the fourth grader earlier this week.

We built multiplication tables during a spreadsheet lesson. Sitting between two students, I modeled creating a table as well. The class unanimously decided to enter the products by hand rather than use formulas. Despite this first exercise on spreadsheets, I loved their eagerness to practice multiplication facts instead of the computer doing the work.

But I don’t need to practice my times tables. I can always remember eight times seven equals fifty-six. So after keying in the still-secret formula and dragging it throughout the cells, my table was finished before my students completed the two’s. I answered questions and shaded alternating rows and columns. I even had time to extend the table out to factors of twenty, rather than ten. The students gathered around and watched the size of my table double with a few mouse clicks and drags.

“You’re magical!” she exclaimed.

Sometimes it is easy to impress kids. I offered again to show her how to write the formula, but she said no thanks. She preferred me to remain magical.

Why was I unwilling to see myself as magical? Maybe just because I knew how the trick worked?

Last Saturday I attended a regional Destination Imagination competition as an appraiser. If you have never been or are unfamiliar with DI, imagine a school filled with hundreds of creative kids wearing funky hats, team shirts and big smiles for the entire super-long day. DI showcases imagination in a way that even a grown-up fits in with fancy headgear. I felt like a princess with my wild new hair, a magical princess.

After spending a day under blinking blue princess hair, I decided to roll with that idea. My student is absolutely right. I am magical.


  1. You definitely look magical! I LOVE it!! I think I could wear that hair, and be perfectly happy.

  2. You sound like a fun teacher. What joy.

  3. What a fun post, made me smile.

    Also - I must find myself a blue feathered hat . . .