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5 Fun Ways to Get Your Students to Love Math

Help your students overcome their reservations about this crucial subject.

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student learning new math concepts

Every classroom has a few students who have a negative attitude towards math. New math concepts are hard for them to learn, and they weren’t successful with math in the past. It’s your job to help those students love math. Here are 5 fun ideas to get you started!

1. Teach your students to have a growth mindset.

The first step to helping your students love math is to help them realize that they can get better at it. Many students have a fixed mindset and believe they are just hopelessly bad at math — and with this kind of defeatist attitude, they will never come around to liking it.

Teach your students the “power of yet." They may not be able to solve new a math problem yet, but if they keep trying, they will eventually be successful.

Be sure to celebrate those successes. Remind your students that they weren’t able to solve that type of problem a few weeks ago, but now they can. Seeing their growth will help them have a more positive attitude toward math.

2. Try guided math in your classroom.

Too much direct instruction can be boring. Plus, trying to help all your students during independent practice is overwhelming. Your high students are finishing quickly and need their work checked. Your low students can’t do the problems independently and need your help.

Change the way your math block is structured, and try guided math. A quick minilesson will introduce your students to the concept. Then, your students will work on centers while you meet with small groups.

Guided math allows you to differentiate to meet all your students’ needs. At a "Meet With the Teacher" center, you can teach the day’s lesson at your students’ individual levels. Then, they can continue practicing the skill at their own pace at the other centers.

Guided math breaks up your math block and allows your students to engage in different activities. It also allows you to work with your struggling students in a small group setting. You can address their needs and make learning math fun.

3. Get your students moving, thinking, and collaborating.

Before my class takes a math test, we spend a day reviewing. My students’ favorite way to review is with Unlock the Box Mysteries. I put prizes, like erasers, notepads, or pencils, into a toolbox and lock it with a 4-digit number lock.

They get clues that require them to use the new math concept and must collaborate with other students in their group to solve the problems. Each time they get an answer correct, I give them a manila envelope with another clue. The solution to the last clue is a 4-digit number. The students use it to open the lock and find their surprise in the box. Even my students who don’t enjoy math love Unlock the Box Mysteries!

4. Play fun math games.

Another way to help your students love math is with games. There are so many fun math games to play in your classroom. My students love Jeopardy, Kahoot, and board games. You can find lots of math games for free just by searching online.

Sometimes, I play the games as a whole class when we’re reviewing. However, I often put the games at one of my guided math centers. The students have so much fun playing the games and reviewing important math skills.

5. Use technology to engage your students.

Technology is a great motivator for a lot of students. My school has Chromebooks, and we use them as a technology center. There are so many great websites for practicing math skills! From fact practice to review of skills to online math games, you are sure to find something every student in your class will love. XtraMath, Front Row, and Prodigy are my students’ favorite math websites.

The key to unlocking your students’ love of math is building their confidence and helping them see that they can be successful.

Throw in some fun games and activities, and all your students will love math and beg to do more.

 

How have you gotten students to appreciate math? Share with us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+.

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Want more from this author? Check out Tara's tips for managing a chatty class, her money-saving ideas for teachers, and a few strategies for obtaining free or cheap books for your classroom library.
Author Bio:

Tara Dusko is a 3rd-grade teacher and mom of two. She blogs about ways to have a fun, low-stress year as a teacher at Teach Without Tears and about time and money-saving tips for moms at Flavors, Fashion, and Fun.

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