Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Problem Solved

One of the benefits we anticipated in moving our daughter from a small private school to a public one this year was increased diversity. We expected her to be exposed to a wider variety of cultures and experiences than she would have at the Christian school, and that has, indeed, been the case.

The diversity reminded me of my teaching days when I would spend the day before school started practicing saying unfamiliar names so I wouldn't mess them up at our first roll call.

Still, I was a bit surprised to see this problem on her most recent math test:

"Jihad had 233 marbles.
He gave Mark 27 marbles.
How many marbles did Jihad have left?"

Huh?

Well, there is a large Hispanic population at the school too, and at least they didn't have Jihad giving his marbles to "Jesus."

Happy Friday!

12 comments:

Hillarie said...

That is great!

for a different kind of girl said...

I hope Mark doesn't get mad and want more marbles and declare a Jihad on Jihad.

(I love Friday Wednesdays!)

Kristina P. said...

Jihad is actually a name? Wow.

Anna See said...

Crap, I really thought it was Friday. Now I'm feeling a little down...

K A B L O O E Y said...

I've tutored kids to take standardized tests for twenty years and it always cracks me up how politically correct the spectrum of names has become, as if that will make up for biases inherent in the tests themselves. But Jihad is a new one for me too. I just Googled it to see how common it is, and found it's not a rare one. And yes, a Jihad v. Jesus showdown sounds like one for South Park. As for the diversity issue, that's perhaps my biggest issue with living in the suburbs -- we are sorely lacking in diversity in our district. So we make trips to the city a lot with my daughter.

Brenda Susan said...

OK You got me lol right here as I read this last post! My small town is majority Hispanic including our new neighbors. Oh the things I hear! They are an adorable little family of boys but my quiet backyard is now overwhelmed with swimming pool shouts from next door!

Could be that I really really want my OWN pool though! Ha! Love your writing!

Masala Chica said...

LOL. That is a little random. I have never heard of "jihad" as an actual name before. and even if i had - the person writing the questions may have wanted to possibly select another name.

And why did Jihad have to be so stingy with his marbles anyway? That's what I want to know.

Heidi said...

These math problem solving questions have come a long way from my day where it was still Jane and John. Even Mark would have been wild in comparison. Next time I hope they use Jihad and Jane....that might be kinda fun.

mgheadley said...

Thanks for reminding me to see the humor in these names... I used to be mildly amused and bewildered, too. But then I was hired to work with at-risk 3rd grade math students.

For good readers, these integrated diversity lessons may be welcome and interesting. But for struggling readers, it is just a nightmare. Instead of sorting through the math, they are sidetracked... and give up... because they can't even identify the names of the characters in the problem.

I have taken on the diversity challenge though. And just completed a semester long course... very enlightening for a math nerd like myself. Hopefully enough that I am better equipped to help these student fight the battle against illiteracy... and move on to teaching math.

If I were you, I'm sure I could have weaved the word jihad in that last sentence :)

concealed raisin said...

I've heard Jihad as a name before. The student explained to me that his mother had a difficult childbirth, and he was named Jihad to represent his "struggle" coming into the world.

Tracie said...

I wasn't aware that Jihad is a name. Do kids still play with marbles or is that slang for something?

Chris said...

Here in Utah, we send our kids to a private liberal arts school so they can experience diversity. The public schools in our community are full of beautiful, white children, almost all of which are members of the predominant faith [not that there's anything wrong with that, it's just good to see the "flavor" of the world]. Cute story!