# Highlights from Vacation Week

April 17, 2020 pm30 10:31 pm

New York City Public Schools just finished spring break. Except we didn’t get a break. In my school we taught, but went easy on kids. Most did fewer lessons, fewer assignments. I ran discussions in three categories: games/puzzles, discussion of the world and how we are doing and how’s the world doing, and math – review or enrichment. Three sessions (half an hour each) and no outside work, and your week was done.

Highlights:

- I advised myself and everyone to “go slow” – and I followed the advice this week, and I shared it with students.
- I learned that in my school, among my students, the idea of Pass/Fail grading is not very popular –

which I only learned by engaging students in real conversation. A lot. - Monday, conversation veered to the feuding between the Mayor and the Governor. I offered that it was inappropriate. One student, a political junky, offered that no, it was incredibly entertaining, and was a nice diversion from the regular news.
- I learned several new logic puzzles, including a bunch of liar/truth-teller ones, and beautiful wolf/sheep multiple point of view logic puzzle (I love those).
- I extended deadlines, and when kids asked for more time, I asked how much more they needed, and gave it to them, and offered more help.
- I offered extra math, and some kids really wanted more…
- For the first week since this started, I did not fall further behind on grading. I caught up a little.
- Now I’m considering how to blend more discussion and less assignment into my teaching for the duration.
- I’m reeling from the number of people I know who got sick, and the number who died. And this thing has not hit me nearly as hard as it has hit others.
- I advised myself and everyone to remember those we lost, not to just move on. This week I made a point in some discussions of remembering a professor, John Horton Conway. I shared a story. I showed them Randall Munroe’s tribute. And I asked them to play with Conway’s Game of Life.
- I got outside every day. I got in two hikes. I startled a grouse, who returned the favor. I found beaver tracks. I looked into the next state.
- I wrote thank you notes to a couple of former students who are now health care workers.
- And I wrote, every day.

3 Comments
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Can you post a link to the logic puzzles or liar truth teller or wolf/sheep puzzles? i would love to see them and use them with my students

You see my five go to multiple points of view questions? (I have linked them through the phrase “I love those” in the text). A kid suggested that there was a similar problem involving wolves and sheep – and I found this: https://www.braingle.com/brainteasers/9026/survival-of-the-sheep.html. I also found other versions, but I like this the best, and will adapt it.

As far as the liar/truth-teller problems, it was a page of 6, and, alas, I cannot find it – but good news – I cannot find it because the internet is LOADED with them. They go way beyond Smullyan. I liked what I found because the later problems could only be solved by:

Assume A is true. Show that this leads to a contradiction. Therefore A is false.

which is a line of reasoning I would like my students to feel more comfortable with.

If you find anything you particularly like, please share!

Jonathan

I found the Liars/Truthtellers activity I used: https://math.berkeley.edu/~antonio/MEC/liars.html