Education Article: Teaching Strategies to Encourage Elementary Math Review
Encouraging Your Students to Review Math
Article Summary: It can be somewhat difficult to get students to get energetic about reviewing math knowledge. Learn effective strategies to get students enthused about recalling math material.
Encouraging Your Students to Review Math
by Gregory L. Gomez
It is imperative students regularly review math material that has been taught to them. This is especially crucial since there are so many standards at each grade level the students are responsible for knowing, retention can become an issue.
The problem is, how do we make sure students retain the material throughout the months and more importantly throughout the entire year? This is especially crucial since pressure for proficient and advanced scores on mandatory state testing have been steadily rising.
The answer to accurate recall is review. Not only covering the material that has been taught to the students, but doing so in a manner that gets the students so used to the recall procedure that they develop automaticity. In other words, solving their grade level math problems becomes automatic where the steps come so readily to the students.
However, this recalling procedure must be treated with care. Especially since you do not want the children to become irritated or frustrated with the repetition of past material.
From my experience teaching the 5th grade for over 15 years for the LAUSD, I was never given a warm response when I stated "Let's review math." It was disheartening to hear the negative responses and the sad looks on the student's faces just from saying those three simple words.
From a teacher's perspective, this is not the mindset or attitude you want your students to have in any type of activity. For one, they will most likely not try their best. Secondly, they will get irritated with the subject matter, and therefore not care about a right or wrong answer. And there's always the dreaded behavior problems that arise when the atmosphere is unsettled like this.
Therefore what is key to be mindful of when tackling the recalling process is to create an activity that is interesting and catches their interest. Think of something that you would get excited to complete or do and that may help.
After a few years of trying to be the authoritarian and answering my student's 'Why do we have to?' questions with: "Because I am the teacher and I said so!" I needed to come up with a new plan.
So one day I was doodling a picture of a carnival on a half piece of paper and afterwards I started putting various math problems all around inside the drawing. After finishing the drawing with the variety of ten math problems tucked neatly within the carnival I thought that it looked rather cool.
And since I wanted my students to think of this not as "review time" but as a fun activity with math, I told my class we have 10 little quickies to finish.
I remember the first day I introduced my first handout to them so vividly. My students were so captivated with the worksheet that not one of them complained about doing math - Goal achieved! The students were reviewing math and they were actually excited about it at the same time. From then on, I continued drawing various scenes and tucking ten math review problems within them. Soon I had students begging me for what came to be known as our math "10 Quickies".
Regardless of how you approach the math review time, keep in mind how vital it is to create an activity that is engaging and inspires the students to actually want to do it. Not only will you create a more positive learning atmosphere in your classroom but your students will gain more from the experience and begin recalling math knowledge on an automatistic level.
Gregory L. Gomez, M. Ed, has been teaching 5th grade in the Los Angeles Unified School District for 16 years. He created 10Quickies.com to help teachers and parents provide children in grades 2-5 with a fun and inspirational way to review math standards and concepts. Get valuable teaching strategies along with 4 FREE math worksheets to download just for stopping by.
FREE math review worksheets that students have found to be fun and exciting. These aren't the typical worksheets that you've seen before, so don't be surprised if you find your students begging for more 10 QUICKIES!