Saturday, November 5, 2016

Loop Game in Action!

What is a Loop Game?

It's a great way to get your students to become engaged in learning, to discuss and explain how to solve problems and to have students peer tutor other students.

Let's face it, some students can find worksheets boring. Loop Games will definitely break up the monotony that sometimes occurs in the classroom due to daily worksheets.

They can be used in a variety of ways from test reviews to having students practice skills while you work small group.

It's easy to monitor the class because students are walking around solving problems and having discussions while you facilitate learning.

I usually put students in groups of two to three, depending on the class size. I also make a reduced copy (print 2 to 4 pages on one sheet) of the Loop Game to use as an answer key so that it's easier check students' progress throughout the game as I am monitoring.

Here are some of my students in action during a Loop Game.

Notice the white pages with the blue border that are taped to the wall in each picture? This is how I set up my Loop Games. Students start at one of the problems, show all of their work on a sheet of paper and when they find the answer, they then look for the next card that has the answer they found at the top of the card.

For example, in the picture shown below students would ignore the 2 at the top of the first card because that's the answer to a problem on another card. They would solve the problem 5 x (63 ÷ 7) + 7. and then look for the answer at the top of another card in the room. In this case the answer is 52. Students would then solve (36 ÷ 6 x 5) - 20 and look for that answer at the top of another card in the room. In this case, the answer is 10.

Students then continue to do this until they locate the answer to the last problem at the top of the card they originally started at. Hence the name "Loop Game". Now, if they end up on the card they started at but did not solve all of the problems on the cards, that should tell them that they solved a problem incorrectly. To get them back in the game, I tell them which card they erred on to avoid frustration on their part.

Something I forgot to mention is that when I set the game up on the wall I make sure I mix up all of the cards so that the problems won't be in order. That way students won't expect their answer to be on the next card. I also have students start at different cards to avoid crowded areas. It's easier to monitor students when they are spread around the room.

Sometimes, I stand at the center of the room and listen to the conversations going on. I can say that I have smiled quite a bit! Mostly when I hear a student explaining to another student how the problem should be solved.

The best is when students in the same group rush over to me and show me their answers and they happen to be different. They ask, "Miss, who is right?". Well, I answer a question with a question of course and ask each to explain the steps. As they are explaining, that's when it dawns on the one with the wrong answer what he or she should've done to get the correct answer. Then it happens. The student with the correct answer yells, "I told you! I told you I was right!". I love the confidence in their voice.

Students rushing over to the teacher because they want to prove that they are correct! Imagine that. How often does that happen? LOL

I hope this information is helpful and that you try this activity in your classroom!

Here's a Loop Game you can try for FREE with your students!
Just click HERE.

Be sure to try out some of my other Loop Games at my TPT Store.

If you are interested in a Loop Game for a particular math skill, just contact me! I'll create it and post it on my Teachers Pay Teachers store.

Thanks for reading and have a wonderful day!!!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Vowels in Math?

Yup!  Students need to know what vowels AND consonants are in MATH CLASS!!!!

Of course, they should know them regardless, but lets face it, some students don't.

So I'm going to share a short story about how I help my students remember their vowels and consonants.  But before I do, I'd like to tell you why they need to know this for math. 

 What are the odds, right?!  

Here's an example.
Henry has a set of cards. On each card is a letter from the word "MATHEMATICS". If Henry shuffled the cards and chose one without looking, what is the probability that it would be a vowel?

TA DA!!!  

There you have it! Sometimes the question asks "NOT a vowel". Now, that would be a consonant wouldn't it? 

Then we have the lovely "sometimes Y". But in math, we have enough pressure with the other letters of the alphabet known as variables.  So, we don't view the Y as a vowel.  In math class, Y is a consonant.  Please don't ask me "Y".  See what I did there?  ;)

Any who!  Onward to my story!  So after introducing the unit on probability and after going over a few practice problems, I show my students a problem similar to the one shown above. I then ask the class, "What is a vowel?" I give wait time and look across the classroom and see some facial expressions that tell me they definitely know what a vowel is and some facial expressions that, well, are really quite cute as can be because they are thinking about it.  Then I ask for a volunteer to explain. Many students do know, but there are a few that don't remember or just don't know. These are the students I created the story for.

So, here is the story.

I ask students, "Has anyone ever been to the store and then you end up seeing someone you haven't seen in a very long time?" Many hands go up in the air. Then I ask, "Does anyone here owe anyone any money?" Not so many hands go up.  Hmmm. I wonder why. Sometimes a student will blurt, "My mom does!" or something similar.  We laugh and I move along.  So then I tell them, "Let's say you answered yes to both of those questions. I wonder what you would say."  Then I let them have it, "Aaaaay!!!!  Eeeeeee!!!!  I OWE YOU!!!"  (A, E, I, O, U)

The students that know what a vowel is get it right away and start to laugh! Yes, there are a few that give an eye roll. But the students that didn't know or weren't sure learned it right away. I then explain that the other letters are consonants, NOT vowels.

There you have it. A quick and easy way to help your students identify vowels and consonants.

After this lesson, I then have students up and down the hall during changing of classes passing by my class yelling "Aaaaay!!!!  Eeeeeee!!!!  I OWE YOU!!!" and pointing in my direction.  I love it!!!  I sometimes respond with, "Yes you do!" and give them a wink.

I hope this is a story you will tell your students and I hope it helps in some way.

Thanks for reading and have a great day!!!