A perfect setting for any teacher would be to have kids working in a small group using specific vocabulary to describe their understanding and throw in some targeted Kagan Strategies into the mix after a <mind blowing> lesson plan was nailed and magically learning happened – cue the fireworks and confetti right!
WELL, WELL, WELL… if that doesn’t sound exactly how each day functions in your room, sit back – relax, it is ok! Most of the learning that students connect with have to be on their time and what matters to them.
- Whether that is paying for lunch, counting change out properly or leaving tip for their waiter.
- Running a 50-meter dash and calculating their percent of change for their personal best.
- Even, goal setting to ensure their GPA will allow them to meet the requirements for scholarships.
However, my question is… When did teaching begin and end at school or class period?
Students can be reminded over and over again when they will use the mathematical content but until they do – it doesn’t quite resonate with them. Real-world connections are so important to our students overall understanding of the material and that my friends, will be when the lightbulb goes off. One thing that I would like to see more of is cross-curriculum planning. In an ideal situation, math could be working on integers, while ELA classrooms are researching careers and income and the science class is performing experiments with exo- and endo thermic reactions (yes, I just made this up). However, these all encompass such a range of subject specific standards, yet all have some cross exposure to the simplistic nature of education. Immerse ourselves in the material and make it connect with our lives.
For an example, one recent personal event happened this past weekend. My best friend got my daughter a diy bath bomb set, you know the kind that you make at home with the metal molds and all. It was so fun! We used measuring cups/spoons, counted droplets of essential oils and calculated with ratios. It was exceptional actually and highlights why project-based learning is so important. The end result, she enjoyed her very own experiment! That is a small scope of using science and math together! I could have made it more intriguing of course 😉
I believe our goal as a teacher is to always show the excitement of learning and to instill that into our students. If you teach at a school, like I did, many subject areas don’t really discuss anything with outsiders. It is typically just content area teachers discussing with similar subject area teachers – understandable, due to time constraints. BUT… here you come in – the fabulous teacher that you are trying to make life lessons deeper.
Let me tell you about what I do at the end of my integer unit for an example. My Integer Mini-Project really hones in the content to showcase true understanding of the material. Students work in groups and take 10 careers to correlate how they are used in integers. It helps to create a full immersion experience using a mock letter and requires less than 2 days of preparing plus includes graphs, diagrams, student roles and all!
If you are looking at using real-life experiences, check this out – it is fun and engaging but more important you can truly see students loving math class and enjoying conversing with their peers over a subject that can be seen as a pillar for the rest of your school year. Don’t forget – join my newsletter to gain tips, tricks and extra freebies that you can start using today!
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