Curve Balls

What do you do when life throws you a curve ball? Photo cred:

What do you do when life throws you a curve ball? Photo cred

This post is in response to The Daily Post prompt from a couple of days ago. What do you do when your students throw you a complete curve ball in the classroom?

I don’t know if this is because I have always worked with younger grades (pre-k through grade 3 so far), but this happens ALL THE TIME to me.  The way the mind of a young child works continually amazes me! We might be talking about adding three digit numbers in math, and one student will raise their hands and talk about something they did over the weekend!

So what do you do when that happens?!

I try to keep my classroom as positive as possible.  So if I can tell that their comment genuinely makes sense to them and they didn’t mean to be off-topic and disruptive, I will usually acknowledge what the student said by saying something like, “Ok, thanks for your comment.”

Then I will refocus the discussion with something like, “Does someone else have something to add to the discussion about ___ (and restate the question)?”

If they ask me something that I have completely no answer to, I will deflect the question and ask for help from the rest of the class, “What do you think class? Can you help Johnny?”

I think it is important for students to solve their own problems, to feel acknowledged, and to let students know that their teachers will not always be there to answer their questions so they have to rely on themselves.


Please comment! How do you typically handle curve balls thrown your way?


6 responses to “Curve Balls

  1. I do pretty much the same as you do! Even adults throw curve balls every now and then! I guess it keeps teaching interesting. No two classes are ever the same! 🙂


    • This is really why I love teaching! I remember when I used to have an office job with the Department of Justice. I felt like I was still doing good in the world, but without the daily interactions with people I would struggle to not fall asleep at my desk! Now these kids keep me on my toes so much I rarely feel like I can sit down!


  2. In fifth grade redirecting does not always work. Then I am left with nothing to do but tell them the truth. They are very perceptive and know when a person is fudging. How they feel about you not knowing something they think you should know is another meter entirely.


    • If the kids can’t come up with the answer to their own questions, I will usually ask them how we can find the answer. Then I open up google while projecting the search on the document camera and they tell me what to type into the search bar. I love it!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.