When
I think back to my junior high math class, I remember sitting and taking
endless notes while my math teacher rambled on and on. I think those days are
gone…right (please say yes)? We all know that students need to experiment with
math to really understand it, but do you understand that even if you teach math
in an engaging way, students still may not think it’s important or useful? If
they don’t think it’s important or useful, then they won’t buy in and most
likely won’t retain it.

So, how do we make math meaningful? The kids need to know
how the lesson or skill will help them. Kids are egocentric by nature. If they
feel it will serve them, then they will buy-in.

In order to get that buy-in, start each class with a chart
(like the one below). Brainstorm with the students FUTURE JOBS THAT WILL USE (

__insert skill here__) and FUTURE CLASSES THAT WILL EXPECT THEM TO UNDERSTAND (__insert skill here__). Write the student’s responses on the chart and add your own to it. This will help the students understand that you are teaching them something meaningful and they will be more likely to buy-in to your lesson.
Keep the charts on the wall
through the year. Call their attention to the charts often throughout the
school year to remind them why we are doing this stressful thing called math
and why it’s helpful!

Come back to my next MiddleSchool
Math Monday next week. Until then, you may be interested in my Fractions FlipBook or Decimals Flip Book. Keep up the great work and remember that your job
is the most important job in the world.

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