A walk to the stables

A walk to the stables
Tamerin at the horses: we walked there on Thursday and talked rugby nearly all the way!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

To the zoo on her 16th birthday

Tammy turned 16 today.  To celebrate we had no school except Bible and then we went to the zoo.  The weather was great: slightly overcast,  but not too hot or humid.  We did not get to see all the animals as they were working in the bear’s and the tiger’s enclosures.  But we did get a good look at the lions!  The Pretoria zoo is one of the best in the world.  It is quite big and we walked A LOT!   I wish I had taken more photos.  (Tammy took one of nearly every animal, but of course I do not have her camera with me, so I can’t blog her pics.)  She did not flinch when we looked at the snakes in the reptile park, but said a firm “No thank you” when I suggested the critters.  I guess no one needs to look at spiders and scorpions on one’s birthday!

To go to the zoo, was Tammy’s choice for an outing.  At first I thought whom we could invite to go along (her mom works full time again), but in the end I decided it would be best if we went  on our own.  I’m glad we did, because in this way Tammy was really relaxed and we talked a lot.  When she is in a group, she is inclined to withdraw and not to participate in conversations.  I told the lady at the entrance that it was Tammy’s birthday, but when she asked Tammy how old she was, I almost had to prod her to answer.  Old habits do not die easily and I think she is just used not to answer immediately, unless I prompt her with an “immediately”!  

After the zoo we went to jewellers to have her ears pierced.  I asked her a while ago what jewellery she was going to wear for her big party ( a Hollywood dress up party this Saturday).  She wasn’t certain, but that’s when I noticed that her ears were not pierced.  I asked her whether she would like to have her ears pierced and she was very enthusiastic!  So after ensuring me again and again, that she was certain she wanted pierced ears, we went into the jewellers.  She was shown the different studs and again she was quite certain which ones she wanted: she immediately chose gold ones with shiny red centres. 

Next we went to Clicks to buy surgical spirits for her newly pierced ears and then we had a cold drink before heading to the beauty parlour.  What a fun day!  Happy birthday Tammy – only two more nights before your big night.  I can’t wait to see you in your evening gown! 

Here are some pictures of our day:


(PS.  Look closely at the last two pictures: can you spot the difference?)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Getting out of math’s mud

The past month hasn’t been much fun – we mostly did math – stole from other subject periods to finish the previous day’s homework… Tammy really struggled with most of the math we did – especially problems like converting recipes. But she has nevertheless shown much improvement in all areas. Here are a few examples of the types of problems we did:

Time calculations e.g.

  • On Saturday Tammy went to bed at 21:30 and she woke at 5:15. How long did she sleep?
  • Nick Jonas wants to phone Tammy on her birthday at 19:00. What day and time will it be in California then?” “Lana wants to phone Tammy at 21:00 on her birthday. What day and time will it be in Australia then?
  • The April holiday starts on 16 April and ends on 3 May. How many weeks/ days is that? (She calculates this without a calendar and then checks on the calendar to see whether she is right. These sums involved much subtraction, adding and division by 7.)
  • Why time calculations? Because it is important in every day life as well as tourism and geography – two of her subjects. Whereas other people just pick up these skills, Tammy has to practice a method for everything.

Adding or subtraction e.g.

  • Tammy invited 25 guests to her birthday party. 4 said they could not come. How many guests can she expect?
  • Tammy received 14 gifts. She has already opened 6 gifts. How many more gifts must she open?
  • Why? She still struggled with such basic problems, although we did a lot of them last year. I am convinced though that if we keep on practicing these, the ability to apply mathematical solutions to a variety of problems will emerge.

If one then multiply, if many then divide problems:

  • The following recipe is enough for 6 people. How must Tammy change the recipe so that it is enough for 25 people? (Divide ingredients by 6 and multiply with the number of guests. Round the answer – you cannot use 3.75 chicken or measure 7.33 ml salt or 990 ml sauce.)
  • Shaen will take 5 photos of each guest. How many photos will he take when there are 20 / 25 / 30 guests?
  • If one plate costs R25, how much will the dinner for 30 people cost – i.e. how much will 30 plates cost?
  • For the problems we whisked out the abacus and number line again. We drew pictures and real objects. And we practice and practice and practice. The conversion of recipes is part of lesson 1 of Grade 10 mathematical literacy, and both of us are determined to crack it – not only for the lesson, but forever!

Multiplication and division

  • How to multiply with 25: Since 25 = 1/4 of 100, divide by 4 and multiply with 100. These problems also took several exercise sheets, before she could do it. Once she got the hang of it, it was fairly easy, but then she would apply the same “recipe” when multiplying 10 x 25! Of course you can divide 10 by 4 and multiply the answer with 100, but it is so much quicker to just add a zero!
  • Besides the 1-12 tables, to also be able to count in 15’s and 25’s. To know the answers to 60/4, 4 x 15, 3 x 15, 45/ 3, 75/ 3, 3 x 25 100/ 4, 1000/ 4 etc. etc. This is much more fun and she loves it, if she “gets” me, i.e. if she can give the answer very fast!
  • Percentages: this is nothing new, but it requires continuous practice. Also to understand what it meant when you run at 50%, 80% and 100%! (Water aerobics)

There is still a massive elephant to be eaten and for Tamerin the bites can never be too small. I am just grateful for the few mouthfuls that she has been able to digest. Let’s pray that these skills will stick forever!