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Topic: student motivation
Replies: 1   Last Post: Aug 8, 1995 1:30 PM

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Posts: 8
Registered: 12/6/04
student motivation
Posted: Aug 8, 1995 11:52 AM
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Who spoke of students who don't want to work? I have encountered a few of
those, but much more often at upper el level, students can't get enough math!

Last spring I was asked to exchange classes with my team member so that I
could clear up for the other class why the divisor gets inverted when we
divide fractions. Students were not willing to go on until they understood
and it took two of us to make the logic clear. I remember first hearing
about this in high school. The textbook gave no clue. My partner
knew why but was having trouble bringing the explanation to elementary
level understanding. But the kids didn't give up until they "got it".
They are used to journaling and writing explanations as evaluations that
will be placed in their portfolios and so have a need to know as well as
healthy curiosity!

The textbook is the last thing we use to teach math. When I do use it
often it is as a blitze review and practice activity. Students are allowed
to go at their own speed, doing as many or as few problems as they feel
they need to do to be proficient in the skills presented. They may even
skim the chapter and take the end of chapter test right away and move on to
individualized activities if they pass. Yes, this much individualization
with 24 students. Students work next to a buddy and get some questions
answered that way. Two sided, red/green circles on every desk show me who
may be stuck and need my one on one help. I carry a stamp with me and do
the problems mentally as students move on from section to section, stamping
a "well done" as correcting after school...instant feedback.
Anecdotal notes go in portfolios on Post-its I have written as I move
around during the class. Seldom does a student fail to do enough
practice...the opposite may be true...a student may want to do all the
practice just because it is fun! Mental techniques and abbreviated
notations are fine...remember this is a review.

Math time is exciting, rewarding, immersing, and, yes, tiring--one student
said, "My brain is too tired for recess!" ...with a giant grin! Kids love a
good challenge, a puzzle, a problem to solve to satisfy curiosity and do
some brain aerobics! Tonna Kershul

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