imageI have a class of groaners.  You know the ones…you announce (with excitement and the tone of great anticipation) what the next task at hand is, and you are met with “Uhhhhhhh” and “Ohhhh noooooo” as if I had just taken away their birthday.

They hardly know what I’m going to say before they moan and look as if I have mortally wounded their spirit by asking them to do something like take out their math journal.

This hit a fever pitch when we worked with number stories this week.  We have been discussing turnaround facts and giving evidence of how they work in addition and don’t work in subtraction.  After thinking through this in our whole group work and practicing with smaller groups, the kids were asked to write a number story and corresponding number sentences that would illustrate each of the two concepts.

Moaning and groaning commenced.  Gnashing of teeth.  Throwing hopeless hands in the air.  “I can’t write that!” echoed through the room.

And then the crescendo…”Do we HAVE to??”

I looked around in despair.  They were focusing their laser eye “don’t make me” stares at me in every direction.  Then inspiration struck…

“Why don’t you write number stories about catching Pokemon?”

The question hung in the air for a tense moment…and then the pencils started flying. Some of the kids even asked if they could write MORE number stories!

It pays to play this PokeGame.





  1. Kristi Lonheim (@lonheim) · October 12, 2016

    Ha! Beating them at their own game. (Pun intended!) Sorry that you get the joy of groaners this year. May you continue to outsmart them.


  2. sallydonnelly11 · October 12, 2016

    I just finished my parent-teacher conferences and asked “What kinds of things does your child do outside of school. When Pokemon and Minecraft were repeated answers, I also began thinking of how to incorporate this. Your an inspiration. I actually have zero knowledge of both but think I’ll form a lunch club so the kids can teach me. And yes they WILL be including it in their math problem solving stories!! Thanks for sharing. And you aren’t alone. I got groaners, too. My other big year-long lesson is to teach them kindness but that can be another blog discussion!


  3. franmcveigh · October 14, 2016

    Great thinking! I would be asking them to write a “true” or possible Poke story and then a “maybe” not quite so true to see if we could fake out our readers . . . and I would be the FIRST one out! You are always making lemonade!


  4. Norah · October 16, 2016

    So sad to have groaners and moaners in the classroom. It’s not how it should be. I hope you can turn them around.


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