A Sacred Saturday

I finally commit to starting a blog, and it has taken me over a month to post!  Now that my son’s soccer season has ended, I have that luxury of waking up on a Saturday morning without having to jolt out the door for an early game.  Saturday mornings are usually my most creative moments for new ideas… nothing like a quiet house and a good night’s sleep!

I have motivation on the brain today, so, here I am to share some strategies I’ve been using over the past more-than-a-month that have really motivated my students:

  • Novelty – Anything out of the ordinary that has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with math seems to really motivate students!  I don’t necessarily think it’s the lack of math relevance that gets ’em going; I think it’s the element of the unexpected.  For example, I am thankful to have an ELMO document camera in my classroom, and any student who would like to solve a problem at the ELMO knows he or she will do so while using a large carrot-shaped pen.  Random, but very motivating!
  • Media – I adore this site for movie clips that involve mathematics!  Beware – some clips are NOT appropriate for student viewing… so preview first!  Some of my favorite clips to use for middle-schoolers are:
  • Father of the Bride – The dilemma of 8 hot dogs per package and 12 buns per package provokes discussion about “least common multiple”
  • The Wizard of Oz – Is the Scarecrow’s Theorem the Pythagorean Theorem?  Here’s a resource from Math Bits that accompanies the movie clip quite well.
  • Ma and Pa Kettle – classic clip to provoke discussion about math misconceptions and “error analysis” (which I generally call “Find ‘N Fix”… we’ll talk more about that strategy later!)
  • Music – Don’t forget to use music when appropriate!  Recently while addressing integers, opposites and absolute value, I played the chorus of the song “Hot ‘n Cold” by Katy Perry to address opposites.  Needless to say, I had them hooked for the rest of the lesson.  Are there any current songs you use that have mathematical meaning?

Off to watch some cartoons! 🙂

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