4 Math Motivation Strategies

Thursday, September 20, 2018
Welcome to Week 6 of our book study!  We have been diving into best practices in the mathematical world and changing the way we, as teachers, and our students think about math!  Chapter 6 in Learning to Love Math by Judy Willis discusses a topic especially near and dear to this high school teacher's heart-how to motivate all students, especially in math, but this is also cross-curricular.

When asked why they would choose to drop out, the majority of students said that school is boring.  When prompted, they explained that they didn't connect with the teachers and that the material was uninteresting or irrelevant.

1. One way to engage our students is by switching things up.  Now, you may be saying routine is good for our students, and yes it is, especially for our students with special needs.  So, look for other ways to add pizzazz to your class.  This could be as simple as a suspenseful pause or changing how your tests look so they catch the eye and help students focus more.  Music is also a great motivator for almost all children.  Don't disregard cheesy tunes, or educational related music either.

2. Boggle their minds with a logic puzzle (not too challenging) or an event that has an unexpected outcome.   These can lead to great discussion in the class, where everyone can feel comfortable because no one could effectively predict the outcome.  You could incorporate a few of these in as number talks.

3. Make math relevant to your students.  Incorporate things they are interested in (get to know your students)!   Help them understand the topics by relating to something they are familiar with.  Have them make math commercials to show others that math skills are relevant to all people.  They will really have to understand a concept to be able to "sell" it to others.

4.  Incorporate movement and games.  These allow for brain breaks (which Willis lovingly calls syn-naps) while still working on skills or working on cultivating a classroom community.  This is my personal favorite because it is a low-stress environment that encourages group work and positive feedback.

Which is your favorite?   There are so many other fantastic strategies in this chapter so make sure to check it out for yourself (affiliate links in post).  Also, find out how to enter the book giveaway here!


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