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Imagine the young boy who carries around a basketball all day because he strives to be just like Stephen Curry. Imagine the young girl with her nose buried in the newest Nancy Drew graphic novel. These are the students I have the privilege of teaching and learning with 5 days a week for 36 weeks. These are the students I lay awake at night wondering if they have a bed to sleep on, if dinner was provided for them, and/or if they were able to get medication for their long-lasting cold. These are my students-my kids. Each one of these individuals provide differentiating perspectives of the world. With approximately 100% of the students eligible for a free-and-reduced lunch, I gain the perspective of going multiple hours and days without a meal. With 60% of the ethnicity being Hispanic, I develop the perspective of being in a culture different than my own. With 50% of students classified as an English Language Learner (ELL), I develop the interpretation of speaking to individuals who misunderstand or miscommunicate with me. My kids are each individuals and I embrace each of their individualities.
Learning occurs when we use and support different networks within our brains. Mathematics is optimized when both areas of the brain are being used, as well as communicating with one another. The symbols and numerical figures used in math trigger one side of the brain; whereas, visual and spatial information, such as arrays of dots, use the opposite side of the brain. When students are actively engaging in the visual representations of mathematics, along with multiple other representations of students' learning, the opportunity to encourage mathematical thinking is strengthened. With the highly competitive innovative market we are preparing students for, visual mathematics is the nature of the knowledge needed for today's high-tech world. The materials of this project will allow students to explore their spatial reasoning skills through critically thinking, problem solving, and being innovative explorers. When walking into the classroom, I look forward to you hearing students asking questions of where the puzzle piece fits, discussing the correct space between blocks, or constructively arguing about the placement of the shape.