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Involvement Pushes Back against Fatigue

In a session today, I was working with an elementary student on long division. This young student--like so many her age--loves learning new things! The skill of long division, which is brand new to her, is no exception. Having recently tackled bigger multiplication problems, she was excited to move into the operation that undoes multiplication. But with many students, excitement, and attention span, can have a minute-by-minute variation (a perfect scenario for a tutor)!

Long division sounded great when we started, but it's a very tedious process, giving several opportunities for my student's interest to wax and wane. I noticed her slowing down as we made it through our first problem; staring down a potentially long road ahead. I started listening to her conversation as we went along, and voila! I discovered an olive branch from something she said. She had an idea that I was able to allow into our space, and let her try with the math she was learning. Through that, she finished the longest problem we've ever done together, working without distraction on it until she reached the end. When it was all said and done, she had actually gotten more continuous practice at long division than I was planning for, and she had a very apparent sense of satisfaction with her accomplishment. That involvement she had with creating our session made it so much stronger!

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