Thursday, May 24, 2012

A Tired "8"

Sabrina is a lot of fun to teach.  She is normally quite obedient and compliant.  But lately she has been exerting a new found assertiveness in the silliest ways.

I gave Sabrina a worksheet with sets of objects.  Her task was to count the objects and write the number corresponding to the set next to it.  She correctly counted that there were eight items, but wrote the digit "8" sideways, instead of upright.  I asked her why she wrote her 8 sideways.  She said it was laying down because it was tired. I told her that she has to write the 8 standing up, or else it would not be a correct 8.

Sabrina argued with me and with a stern, mad expression on her face she screamed "I want to do it the way I want to!"  I had to smile.  Then I reiterated that she cannot be creative when writing numbers, that there is only one way to write an "8."  She hated my response and began to cry. 

Nearly every day my kids say something which completely shocks me, something which I never expected them to say.  I never would have thought about whether a number would get tired and want to lay down.  I guess I do not think like a four year old.

I had no idea what to say, but fortunately my years of litigation experience taught me to think on my feet.  So, I suggested that when we do art class in the afternoon she can draw or paint 8's any way she wants.  But with math worksheets she has to write it the correct way.  She seemed OK with this option.  I want to encourage her creative and independent spirit, but of course she has to learn to write numbers correctly.  Alas, the "how to write a number 8" debate is over in our house.  For now. 

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