Mr Curran, we’ve invented a new maths operation. We’ve just one number to go – 8. We’ve tried everything. Then we discovered, we’re calling it the Flip.
I’m intrigued. They’re beaming, so excited as they explain.
We’ve got a 6 which we flip so it becomes a 9. Then we’ve got 9-1 which gets us to 8.
I’m loving the thinking outside the box, the persistence, and the excitement.
Right across the room they’re transfixed. Working at different levels, equally passionate, equally persistent. Over and over, they call me or rush up to me, “Mr Curran look at this equation we’ve made.” We’re playing captivating maths games created by Michael Minas (check out his maths-focused website, where his videos are organised by topic and year level). In the videos, Michael plays the games with his son Nash. They’re clear, easy to follow and really engaging. We watch then play and play and play.
Writing from the heart
Wow, wow, wow. The writing just leaps off the page at me, absolutely hits me, moves me. The raw, unmanufactured-non-ticking-the-box words are right from the heart. They’re fiercely passionate, substantive. It’s what I often say to the students: ‘write to move people, make them feel, think, react, respond.’
These students are expressing their anger and frustrations, their confusions, their beliefs about what is and isn’t right to them – about the human rights of different communities – women and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (in Australia). This is writing right from the soul and I cannot get enough of it.
Responding to Injustice
Mr Curran, l love the other version but I love this one even more. It’s like it’s for us, right now, today.
Mr Curran, can we watch it again?
We’re watching an absolutely mesmerising performance of ‘From Little Things, Big Things Grow‘ (written by Paul Kelly and Kev Carmody), which tells the story of Vincent Lingiari and the Wave Hill Walk Off, an 8 year strike for fair wages and land rights for the Gurindji people in Northern Territory (Australia).
From the opening harmonica, there’s total silence, and absolute focus. Then Ziggy Ramo begins rapping and we’re right with him. Ziggy’s singing from his heart, his soul, his country. It’s written – inscribed – all over him. Tears run down his face, the anger, the hurt writ large, the unyielding determination.
As we notice, wonder, think and feel, it’s one of those moments again, with the writing cutting right to the core. So many questions as to why people behave the way they do – treat people the way they do – why the injustice – why people just don’t get it. And so much, much more. A student calmly speaks to the class, drawing us in as he so eloquently describes his reaction to the song. Such maturity, such depth of thinking. I express how much his words mean, how they impact on me.
It’s all from my head Mr Curran, he says, noting that he’s not reading from the page.
From the head, the heart, wherever it’s coming from, there’s something special happening here.
Read Moments in Time 2 by Greg Curran: a snapshot of classroom moments where our hearts soar and we’re thinking big time.