Old vs. New

Back in third grade, in Mrs. Winowski’s class at West Utica Elementary, I played a little game called Around the World. Contrary to how it sounds, it had nothing to do with geography. Instead, it was a quick-fire math game in which a student would stand up and square off against a classmate in answering a flashcard question. 8 x 9 = …

Whoever said the answer first got to move to the next student, until finally one student went “around the world,” or classroom, and won the game. The winner got to pick from Mrs. Winowski’s drawer of goodies. Things like pencils and sticker sheets and yo-yos.

Boy, did I want a crack at that.

Trouble was, I wasn’t the best at math. So I had to work for it. I had my mom drill me with flashcards at night, so I could practice my rapid-fire response. And, as is the case with practice, I got better – and one day I was victorious. I chose a blue dog eraser as my prize. I didn’t use it. I just treasured it. It was a totem of my achievement.

Those were the days …

Today, kids would probably be more likely to practice their multiplication tables on a tablet than a head-to-head faceoff with their peers. And with new math? Geez. I can’t even imagine how that translates to a game that gets kids engaged – and learning.

In this issue of Metro Parent, our annual Education section includes a funny look at how much has changed in education since we were kids. If you’re a Gen Xer like me, this will particularly hit home.

We’ve also got a feature on how kids who are in the hospital long-term keep up with their schoolwork. Did you know some children’s hospitals here in Michigan employ teachers? Pretty cool!

Oh, and have you ever wondered what exactly the people on your child’s school board do? What is their power and influence? Well, find out in the first installment of our Grassroots Government series. In this election year, when so much attention is on federal and world issues, we thought it might be nice to give everyone a little lesson on the folks who shape our lives locally. They may not get the press or turnout that larger state and federal elections do, but they can really have a direct impact. Think: school closing.

Plus, get tips on helping kids overcome procrastination, negative feelings that can hinder their learning and math anxiety. Bonus idea: Play a round of Around the World with your kids at home. It worked for me!

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