This past week I’ve been trying to figure out how to better engage the students in my classroom. I’ve noticed that the traditional lecture style just isn’t quite doing it for them. Most of the kids don’t have a long enough attention span to sit quietly in their seats and take notes for more than five minutes at a time. Therefore, although the lessons are informative, they’re not engaging and therefore, the students aren’t gaining new knowledge. So, what am I going to do about it? The long and short of it is, I’m going to make math fun.
Yes, I know there are doubters–“math” and “fun” in the same sentence?! This has to be a trick, right? Wrong. Sure math can be challenging and downright difficult at times, but if everything in life was easy, the world would be a pretty boring place. I want to make math relevant to students, cater to their individual interests and build up intrinsic motivation. This will most definitely take some dedication, time and creativity on my part, but I know it can be done.
Some common interests I’ve noticed among my students are sports, music, movies and of course, social interaction. I’m thinking activities which involve group work, movement and manipulatives will be great for them. They will have to be engaged in the activity from start to finish in order to complete the project and move on to the next one.
To ensure that the students are internalizing the main concepts I’m trying to present, I know I will have to utilize evaluations. Whether these are brief quizzes, projects, reflections, etc., I need to check in with my students so I can plan accordingly for the next lesson. I don’t want to move on too quickly if something isn’t clicking for them, because then there’s no foundation upon which they can build. Or, if the pace is far too slow, they’ll get bored and I’ll lose them altogether. Neither of these represent what I want to happen in my classroom.
I am excited to try out some lessons with my students and see which ones really prompt them to become involved in mathematics. I know that not every single one will be a success, but each mistake will only help me tweak and edit the activities until they become something myself and the students are happy with. 🙂