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?