Students are more engaged when they’re talking and moving around, says math teacher Michelle Russell. “I won’t lie – it’s hard. But I believe a louder class that’s somewhat engaged in the concept is better than a quiet one.” She rates three engagement strategies she’s tried.
Category: Meaningful Math
Michelle Russell’s blog
Michelle Russell starts the year with math activities that refresh skills and show students that her class will be welcoming to those with math anxiety. Multiplication refreshers, coloring books, Polaroids and shooting hoops help develop a supportive community.
Math teacher Michelle Russell remembers her own anxiety each year when the time came to teach statistics to middle schoolers. She shares two fun activities she’s discovered that address 6th and 8th grade standards: cup stacking and the candy grab! Student handouts included.
After trying without success to teach students how to decode word problems, Michelle Russell turned to research. A math journal article pointed to an ELA strategy: visualizing, retelling, making connections, and asking questions. Learn about her promising first experiment.
After 16 years teaching math, Michelle Russell has the confidence to make her own decisions about day-to-day best practices. “I’m the teacher in my classroom, I know my classes and my teaching style, and I’m the one in the position to decide what is best for my students.”
Math teacher Michelle Russell is busy implementing her summer plans for the first days of school, matching activities to 5 goals she wants to accomplish – build community, puts kids at ease, introduce procedures, do a little math, and have fun. Discover what’s worked so far!
Covid or not, ending school is always hard. To quell the stress and fatigue felt by her math students and herself, Michelle Russell is taking more time for quick fun activities. Students have enjoyed documenting the year, preparing tips for next year’s students, and playing math games.
Lately Michelle Russell’s students aren’t just talking about how anxious math makes them; many are lamenting about how boring math is. Beyond trying to make math fun via puzzles and games, she’s now looking for methods to spark more intrinsic interest in the world of numbers.
Michelle Russell’s algebra students repeatedly encounter foundational skills they haven’t mastered, trapping them in ‘no man’s land’ – unable to use prior knowledge to grasp the new. Shifting from discouragement to action, she sets goals and makes a plan to help them catch up.
Michelle Russell’s math students were eager to learn as this school year began but found the mechanics of solving equations more challenging than Michelle’s pre-Covid classes. After research and talk with colleagues, she’s trying several strategies to give kids the grounding they need.