Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Motivating your Students

Recently, with the Common Core Standards in place; the pacing of our Math curriculum has become insane. There is so much to cover within a given time period. This often makes it difficult for mastery of this skills because we are often have to go on to the next skill or topic. Being that this has been this way for a while, my awesome co-teacher and I decided that we needed to switch some things up and add some more fun to math.  Our students needed to be motivated in order for them to want to learn and enjoy math. This is especially true around this time of the school year.

My co-teacher was reminded of a game that we both pinned from Pinterest, but never had a chance to incorporate it.  If you are anything like me, I pin links, but don't always get to utilize them, or simply forget that they are there.  This particular game is known as Grudgeball. It is a twist on basketball, and the goal of the game is to have your group/team have the most amount of X's or points at the end of the game. This game can be incorporated or adjusted to fit any content area or grade level's needs. We decided to use it as a review game. We provided our students with questions to answer independently. Afterwards, we broke our students into groups randomly (four to five groups). We used sticks with our student numbers to pick groups or you could have the students going around the room calling off numbers 1-4 to represent the groups. Students were then placed into an area of the classroom and given time to review their answers to the questions with the group. If students within the group have different answers, they had to discuss and explain how they came to their answers and come to a consensus. 

As the students were comparing answers, one of us divided the board into four groups and labeled. Each groups had five rows of four X's, for a total of 20 X's under each group. We also set up a "basket" and shooting lines. (Think of a two and three pointer in basketball.) we used an empty trash can and walked 10 feet away from the basket and placed a piece of tape on the floor for the first shoot line and a second piece of tape about another foot or two from the first taped line.

To start the game, we explained the rules and stressed that we will go in group order to answer the questions. The group will answer their question, and the other groups need to agree or disagree. If they agree students one student in the group gets to shoot a ball (we like one that can't bounce and is fairly small; about the size of a baseball or softball). That student can decide if they want to shoot for two extra points or three extra points (based on taped lines on the floor). If a student misses the basket, but answers the question correctly they can erase two (2) X's from any group/team they want. They can split their points into different groups. If they get the basket from the first taped line on the floor, they can erase four  X's and if they get a basket from the second taped line, they can erase five X's. If the group gets the question wrong, they do not get to erase any X;s and we move onto the next group. The students are very competitive and it becomes a fun battle as to who will erase from which of the teams. Often times, they majority of the teams go against one, or teams align with one another. Once a team no longer has X's, they have to start adding X's back, following the same point value rules. This continues on until the end of the review questions.   Again, the team with the most X's wins.

The students absolutely LOVED this game.  I mean, really LOVED.  I hadn't seen my students so excited about math.  I think the competitive nature of the game gets the students hooked; and promotes students collaborating. This was a Pinterst tried and true success! I hope you can find a way to incorporate it into your classroom too!

Happy reviewing!

Katie Mac

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