When our DAA students participate in their math lessons, they not only develop their mathematical skills, but also, they build their character! Let me "count" the ways. Our math curriculum encourages our students to make sense of mathematics by applying lessons to real-life situations -- in this way critical thinking about numbers becomes meaningful. Before we begin our lessons, I ask my students to put on their imaginary mathematician hats. Once students do this, they transform into first-grade math scholars.

In our current math unit, students are developing accurate measuring techniques; they have already discovered that taking accurate measurements sometimes involves teamwork (exactly what I had hoped for when I assigned each student a partner.) Yesterday students were measuring the distance of tape strips placed around the classroom. Although students could use their own feet as the unit of measure to find the tape's length, they quickly found that it was much easier to work with a partner who could lend support.

As I observed their teamwork, I saw a student offer himself as a crutch to his partner who was having trouble keeping his balance on the thin line of tape. I witnessed COOPERATION and COMPASSION, along with accurate measuring! When some students displayed frustration, I noticed their partners encouraging them to stick with the task—to PERSEVERE. Then I overheard another student asking her partner a question, " What should we write down if our last step is too big and goes past the end of the tape?" They were exhibiting CURIOSITY and critical thinking as they worked together to solve the problem!

At the end of each day we deliver our appreciations; yesterday students appreciated other students for the cooperation and compassion they showed during math. These students observed the behavior of others and recognized its significance.

Wow! 1 math lesson learned + 4 DAA Habits of Character exhibited = GREAT SUCCESS for DAA mathematicians!