The key is to engage your students from the start and to maintain that enthusiasm throughout your course … set that tone on DAY ONE!
IMAGINE this …. your students enter class on the first day. After introductions and classroom basics, you give them a worksheet with questions from their end-of-year exams in the previous math course. They eagerly tackle the math problems and in spite of the fact that there are some mistakes, the work is done and the students are happy.
Now for the REALITY….. the previous scenario is not going to happen. It is more likely that your students will just stare at the paper (or you for even suggesting they can do this). They will claim to have forgotten EVERYTHING or that they never learned it in the first place!
HOW to engage the minds of this classroom full of math zombies?
Give them a task they CAN do
or maybe one they want to do
or at least one they can’t claim to be unable to do.
and be sure to include math skills needed for this year’s course.
IDEAS to TRY:
Puzzles : Critical thinking is essential to success in math class. Although most of my puzzles don’t address a particular math skill, the processes of thinking, solving, persevering are part of the math practices as suggested by NCTM.
Coloring pages : These pages are cleverly-disguised worksheets that involve more than cranking out answers. A resource that with color-coded answers can be self-checking and will provide an equalizer, time-wise, because students that find the math easy will stay engaged while students that take longer to solve will get the ‘work’ done and be able to save the fun for later.
Task Cards : Task cards can be used in any number of ways. Find a set that covers skills you want your students to recall. Use them for group work, scavenger hunts, bell ringers, or your own variation of a Game Show.
Games : We all love games and so do students. When students play, they don’t even realize they are learning. I have several math games that deal with everything from vocabulary to specific skills.
HAVE A GREAT YEAR with your students
learning and growing mathematically!
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