Happy New Year

By: Mary Kienstra on: January 3, 2014  in: Engagement, homework, Math

It’s time to get ready for the second “beginning” of the school year.  This beginning is without the fanfare of the August/September beginning, but is at least as important.  When our students come back to school in January, they already know the routines and expectations.  They should be ready to learn.  But… is it time to mix things up a bit?  Keep them guessing?
There are so many ways to improve engagement in math.  Make a resolution to add some engagement strategies in math class now.  For the second beginning.
One way to mix things up if you haven’t done this already is to have students check homework with a partner.  The purpose of homework is practice- right?  Not for a grade but to practice the concepts from class.  What better way to extend that thinking than to check homework with a partner in class.  It takes just a few minutes and truly sets the tone that homework is for learning – not for a grade.  Students talk about their answers and actually have a discussion when their answers for a particular problem are different.  This is so much more engaging than checking as a class.  It is also a good way to refresh their memories and review the work from the day before as you begin the next lesson.
What are you, the teacher, doing during this time?  Checking in with each group to make sure they are on track, listening to their conversations, and making sure they “get it.”   My experience is that I can coach and teach with the partners – clearing up any questions as they arise.
My students like this way to check – they are engaged with the math and work quickly to review the work from yesterday.

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