Just Playin’

We just wrapped up our first quarter of the year, and I’ve noticed something.

We like to play.

Every class period has it’s own culture… it’s own “thing”.  It’s usually not very math-related, but I’d venture to say this “thing” that unites us in each class helps us learn the math better.  Simply put, we choose fun.

Maybe I should have taken pictures all year and started my own #TodaysDate180 blog (ha!) but every day this year, I’ve created an expression whose solution is (wait for it…) today’s date.  Some days’ expressions are more challenging than others.  It’s a very simple way to continuously review order of operations, exponents, etc.  And in one class, every day, several students take it upon themselves to write a proof of sorts, demonstrating how they know what day it is.  Here’s a not-elaborate-at-all-on-my-part recent date, and a sampling of the daily date-proving ritual:

Screen Shot 2014-10-22 at 9.58.33 PM

Another example of how we play – students started noticing that every day is a holiday.  We start every class by talking about what holidays are listed on a goofy daily holiday website, and if it’s possible, we celebrate it.  High-five day was a recent favorite.  I don’t know how it started, but we do it.  Every day.

We hashtag.  A lot.  When I grade papers, students often hashtag comments to me, and I return the favor.

Screen Shot 2014-10-22 at 10.21.53 PM

When students use language like this to express themselves on a quiz, I take it as a high compliment.  This is how we interact.

Screen Shot 2014-10-22 at 9.58.11 PM

Play is important.  We start every lesson with a smile and make the kind of goofy memories that middle schoolers hold dear for a long time.

Don’t forget to play today.  #justsayin

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4 Responses to Just Playin’

  1. Annie Forest says:

    I couldn’t believe when I read you post that you do the date thing and weird holidays too! I started doing the date last year when we were talking about exponents… try anything to the zero power on the 1st of the month (like 5^0), it gets them every time! 🙂 I also do the holidays for each day. Check out http://www.daysoftheyear.com or http://www.brownielocks.com for ideas! Also, love your hashtag idea… it’s fun but also a good way for kids to organize their thinking. I might have to borrow it. #stealingyourgreatidea

    • Cathy Yenca says:

      Sounds like we are kindred spirits! 🙂 I include lots of bases to the zero power throughout the month as well. Today was 5^2 – 5^0 for example. Too funny!

  2. stephanie shuler says:

    Hi there! I just wanted to thank you for all of the great stuff I’ve found on your blog. I’ve been poring over it the past two weeks looking for new ideas and inspiration. I’ll be going into my 14th year {eek!} in August and still have so much to learn. I saw that you are in the Austin area and I am moving there as well but will be in Leander ISD. Thank you for sharing your ideas…they are greatly appreciated!

    • Cathy Yenca says:

      Hi Stephanie,

      Thanks for stopping by! I appreciate your kind words! Welcome to the Austin area – you will love it! Perhaps we can connect in person sometime. iPadpalooza 2016? 😉

      Cathy

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