Boring, hard, and no fun!
This is how I use to view math when I was in elementary school. There was one teacher that changed my mind about math.
Later when I chose to be a teacher I knew that I wanted to be a teacher that made learning fun, like my own former teacher. I find many teachers are scared of math. Probably because most people aren't what they would consider good at math or it is their least favorite subject. Today I want to share with you guys a few ways to help make math more fun and interesting for your students.
Okay I know, manipulatives can be a pain! Having to pull them out and sort it before the lesson, training the students how to use them, and then clean up. It seems like it's so not worth the hassle when you look at the picture in front of you. However, if you were to look at the big picture, manipulatives are a key asset to any true comprehension in math.
It is always best to start with concrete concepts and then move into abstract. The students will then enter looking at the numbers and it will make much more sense to them. It also helps those students who are hands on learners to grasp math concepts.
Lastly, the students love to work with manipulatives. Anytime I pull them out those little eyes light up, and after the lesson I over hear students telling each other how cool the lesson was or how much fun they had! It will take time at the beginning to train your students to know exactly how to handle them, but once they know pulling the manipulatives out will be easier and fun for all!
For your visual learners you should integrate videos into your lesson as much as possible. Most weeks we watch 3-4 videos on whatever concept we are learning. Truly it doesn't take very long, most videos I have my students watch are video clips that are only 3-5 minutes long. Mostly I use them after I have taught the lesson to review in another way what I just taught them. There are many places you can find great educational videos. DiscoveryEd and BrainPop are great places, but they require a paid membership. For free videos I use you tube and teacher tube.
If youtube is blocked in our classroom watch this video:
My particular favorite are matching games. I make most of my games, but have found several math games online for a price and for free. It's a matter of taking the time to look for what you want. I incorporate this mostly with my early finishers. I also find something that goes along with my lessons. For example if the chapter I am teaching is about division than the games the students play would be about decimals. It's an extension of the lesson and it makes learning more fun!
I love students to work together in math! Having students teach their neighbor and work together on a problem is so rewarding for me and for the students. I usually incorporate this in every lesson. The students always have a worksheet that is front and back. The front side we do together and the backside is independent work. I mix up how they work together often though. One day they will complete the front of the sheet as a group, the next day they complete the front alone then share with their neighbor what they got.
My rule is that if they get different answers they have to explain how they got their answer. Having them explain the process to the other student usually helps that student see where they messed up if they got it wrong. I then go over all the question with the class together. Another way I incorporate groups is by using student white boards. Each group of three students has one white board and marker. One student is the writer and the other students have to help solve the problem. The students take turns being the writer. I truly hope this has given you some ideas of how to make math more interesting for your students. Now for the freebie. Here is a division math game that you can use for your early finishers!
Click here to get it! I hope you enjoy!