My student who goes by Ken had found in the classroom one of my little square pieces of paper that I call my "baby alligators" (picture at right). I use them as points to give to my younger cohorts, which they then exchange for my alligator dollars. I added the extra step because with the younger students, I feel like I get better results by giving smaller-valued points more frequently. So they collect baby alligators during each class, and then exchange them for dollars at the end of the class for the actual dollars, at a rate of 5 baby alligators per dollar.
Ken found the baby alligator and asked about it. I explained this procedure, and he was clever enough to immediately comment that that meant a baby alligator was worth 20 cents. I was pleased with this observation.
"If I give a dollar I get five baby alligators?" he asked, as confirmation.
"Yes," I agreed.
He fished around in his pencil case, and drew out his current collected savings. "Thirty-eight dollars is one hundred ninety baby alligators please."
"Really?" I asked, surprised at this turn of events. "What will you do with them?"
He shrugged. "I don't know."
"Are you sure you want them?"
I opened my laptop and opened the page of baby alligators. I print them in sheets of 49 (7 x 7) baby alligators. I printed 4 sheets to the color printer, and ran out of the classroom to collect them. I brought them back, with a pair of scissors.
We were having some free time at the end of class, since he had finished his monthly speech test, so I cut six alligators out of one of the sheets and gave them to him. "That's one hundred and ninety."
Ken took the scissors and began cutting them up into their little squares. I pestered him about what his plans for them were. He said he had no idea.
"Well, anyway, I guess you're having fun," I commented.
"No." he said, shortly.
I laughed. "Then why are you doing this?" I asked.
He shrugged. After a while cutting up baby alligators, he said, of his own initiative, "This is harder than the speech test."
"Oh really?" I asked, surprised. I think he was joking.
Anyway, he cut up all the baby alligators into little squares (picture at right). I folded an envelope out of a sheet of paper, tacked together with some tape, and gave it to him for storing his baby alligators.
The bell rang and class was over.
I have no idea what he intended to do with his collection.
[daily log: walking, 6.5km]