Monday, April 13, 2009

Math tips

Math is a tough subject.  It is hard to fall in love with a fraction like you do a good novel.  So it is important to find strategies that will engage your students effectively.  Try some of the following from an article in the March/April 2009 Scholastic Instructor magazine:

CHOOSE GAMES THAT ARE ACCESSIBLE TO ALL STUDENTS. With Four Strikes and You're Out, for example, I used addition problems that I knew all of the children could solve. When the math is accessible, students can focus on learning how to play.
Play cooperatively and competitively. Cooperative games foster communication and classroom unity. Competitive games help students test their skills, take risks, and learn to be graceful winners and losers.

. Games that combine strategic thinking with an element of chance are especially effective for providing practice and promoting thinking, reasoning, and problem-solving. The chance aspect—rolling a number cube or using a spinner—helps level the playing field and makes it possible for students of varying abilities to enjoy playing together. 

TEACH THE GAME TO THE ENTIRE CLASS AT THE SAME TIME. Play sample games as many times as needed to resolve any confusion before expecting students to be successful independently. 

START A MATH GAMES CHART. Add the name of each game as you teach it. This creates a repertoire of independent math activities that you have approved and that are accessible to all. When students have extra time, direct them to the chart for an activity. 

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