Friday, May 08, 2009

Surprising Gap of Knowledge

My teacher friend was having her advisory class address envelopes to their parents the other week to send out invitations to an acadamy picnic. She quickly realized that more than 75% of the class did not know how to do this and was shocked. After she relayed the story to me, I asked my freshman class and my mixed class of juniors and seniors if they knew how to address envelopes. I basically had the same result. We went through a quick lesson. In my freshman algebra class I wondered out loud when I had learned it and why it was useful (because they think they can just text and e-mail their way through life). I told them that it was fun to get letters in the mail, and when I was a kid, I had pen pals in different states. They then wanted to get pen pals with "littler kids" in other math classes. Hmmmmm, I think it's too late in the year, but maybe it's an idea for next year.


  1. I knew it before, but I remember learning it formally in 7th grade English class. "Dear Sir or Madam," "Sincerely yours," and all of that.

    I remember the day we had to practice tri-folding our 8.5 x 11" papers to fit into the business-sized envelope. We were to tri-fold into a curl, like a burrito, and place the outer fold to the back of the envelope, facing up, so when the reader removed the letter, the reader need only snap the wrist to get the letter to fall open. (Feel free to share this image with your students. I thought it was overkill back in 1981.)

    Today, I still tri-fold, but I rebelliously use the Z-fold method instead.

  2. Anonymous7:28 AM

    That's a fun memory. I've never heard of the "snap the wrist" reason before.

    Ms. Cookie

  3. Anonymous2:09 PM

    The small world of the Internet has definitely dealt a blow to the magic of everyday life. It's hard to be impressed by much anymore when I can spend 30 seconds and find the websites of experts from around the world, with blog posts, guides, videos, lessons, and more.

    Letters for letters-sake just don't make the cut any more as far as being remotely impressive. It's not good or bad, it's just a different world.

  4. MathTime is an easy-to-use flashcard app, developed by a fourth and a fifth grader in the Chicago area, that will help you practice addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Use MathTime during downtime on a long car trip or in a waiting room and be ready to do great on your "mad minute" math drills in school next year. MathTime is available now in the iTunes store for just $0.99. Or check out the MathTime website at for more information and a link to iTunes.