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I keep shoe boxes. How many? Enough that when my grandboys visit, they have plenty of “material” for building.  They take great glee in making towers and even greater delight, as is evidenced by their squeals, in seeing the towers tumble. Sometimes I silently protest the premature downfall. My conflicted emotion reminds me of Bridge on the River Kwai.

In this movie, prisoners of war build a bridge for their Japanese captors during World War II. At the completion of the project, the allied commander unearths a wire leading to dynamite intended to blow up the bridge.  The commander was so intent on the magnificent soundness of the bridge and the excellent construction, he appears to have forgotten which side of the war he is on. Suffering from tunnel vision, he desperately tries to save the bridge from being blown up. 

In a similar fashion, students will arrive to study this month. When you get to be their “commander in learning,” please help your students focus on discovery and not single tests. They are in the process of life construction. Missed marks are part of the learning process.

A couple of my missed marks. I was confused by math word problems containing both decimal points and periods at the end of sentences. And, I misunderstood the words “figures” and “fingers” so that, in grade 3, when I was directed to write the figure in the box below, I traced my whole hand, wondering to myself, “Why do they keep wanting me to draw my fingers?” 

That is the key. Please encourage your students to wonder aloud. 



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