Not Your Average Class Potluck

By: O’Brien Wolff

On Sunday, October 8, Middle Circle families gathered in Grace to join in the annual classroom tradition of a communal potluck. Yes of course, there was a delicious spread with homemade dishes and local eats. Aromas of freshly-baked muffins, savory egg dishes, and even kid-favorite hot chocolate circulated the corridor as parents and kids mingled over their morning meal. However, everyone knew the real crunching had little to do with food, and more to do with numbers.

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As families found seats, the breakfast quickly transitioned into a conversation about Math. Joining the conversation first required a shared understanding: We are all mathematicians, and we are all GOOD mathematicians. With this common agreement and appreciation evident in the classroom’s culture, Middle Circlers were poised and prepared to teach the older half of this Middle Circle community. They took the lead in welcoming parents (other than their own) to join them in a math game often practiced in their own classroom. As teachers, the Middle Circlers were required to thoroughly explain, clearly model and guide adults through a math game. As students, the parents were required to carefully listen, ask clarifying questions and put their mental math skills to the test. Once the games commenced, donuts and sticky buns were snubbed as leftovers while math was served as the new main course.

The morning ended with a giant community game of POP!, reaching a record high of 328 as the group paid close attention to place value and counting. MC families left the morning potluck with more than just a full belly. Middle Circlers left proud, capable and more determined to play math outside of school; while, parents also left feeling better equipped to exercise excitement, practice and love of math at home with their child(ren).