Thursday, October 10, 2013

David Schwartz author visit

Today K-4 students had wonderful assemblies with David Schwartz, a prolific author of (mostly) math and science books. Ask your students about the difference between googol and Google - and about the special surprises (over a thousand of them!) that David brought in his baggage from California... His animated presentation got the kids thinking about how math is all around us and how the power of their imaginations can be applied in creative ways.

To prepare for his visit students heard many of his books in library classes as well as the classroom. My personal favorite is Super Grandpa, based on the truly remarkable story of Gustaf H√•kansson.


Before reading the story, we talked about stereotypes: what are they and why are they damaging? Students had many perceptive answers: because they limit opportunities, because they make people feel bad, because they create barriers between people.

But even before the stereotype conversation, we did a little exercise. I asked students to tell me the words that popped into their heads when I said "Grandpa." Here are examples from a 2nd and a 3rd grade class that were typical of what I heard:

Then we read about the real "Super Grandpa" who shattered many stereotypes about the elderly and inspired older people all over Sweden with his admirable physical feats.

Possibly because young people often also feel as if their abilities are underestimated by others, this story really resonated with the children. Several of them commented that they would remember Super Grandpa when they were old - and if anyone dared to tell them they couldn't do something, they would share this story!

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