One super fun way to review big ideas is to do so with pictures. One picture really is worth way more than a thousand- word lecture or a thousand practice worksheets! (And by the way, this strategy works just as well for introducing big ideas!)
Let's say you want to introduce or review a big idea such as the Distributive Property.
Here's how you might proceed.
Show students pictures of distribution. Google "images of distributive property" or just look around and collect some on your cell phone. I used both methods combined for my examples in this post. Include one or two that are not examples. Ask them, “Which pictures do you think show distribution?” Give them a few moments to look at them and formulate answers and reasoning. Then have students share their thoughts. Be sure to get thorough explanations of why some are examples of distribution and others are not.
Here are two examples of photos showing distribution:
Have students explain the picture above to a partner and then have several students share out to the class.
Next, give students a similar situation with a menu. Direct them to write their own statements and pictures representing the Distributive Property. Be sure to allow them to share their work and post it!
Here is an example of a menu you could use:
To extend this idea even further, you could refer students to the brainstorm list and have them select a situation and write a statement and picture to represent the situation with the Distributive Property.
These are actual examples students created:
If you're wondering if you really have time for kids to draw pictures in math class, consider this. Do you have time to reteach and reteach and they still don't "get it?" Sometimes you have to slow down to speed up. Another huge point is that anytime you employ RIFT (Relevance, Interest, Fun, and/or Technology) engagement goes through the roof. Let's face it. You have to play to win, and you have to engage to teach. Have fun engaging your students with some pictures this week!
>>>>>>> Share in the comments your great tweaks on this idea when you use it this week!
Do you wait for holidays to pass so you can get on with real teaching again?
How about a mind shift on this that boosts engagement, rigor, and deeper long term results?
I used to despise the holidays and special days for interrupting my pacing and wasting my precious instructional time. I'd either plow through the scheduled lesson anyway amid grumbles and shutdowns or I'd give in and wait for holidays and special days to pass.
Wow! Someone needed to hit me upside the head with a shillelagh! I missed the whole point and certainly the fun of teaching!
Thank goodness I came to understand that student engagement so often hinges on finding timely, relevant, fun, and interesting connections to "hook" learners. The very situations we despise as interruptions are actually LEVERAGE to engage students with instruction and deepen mathematical content they will retain and cherish forever.
Why am I telling you this now? Because another holiday is here in March to remind us that there will always be another holiday, another assembly, another pep rally, another.......... .
You can use it as an excuse not to forge ahead with your "regular" instruction, or you can seize the day and create a phenomenal lesson that they will love, remember and thus, LEARN enough to fill their pot of gold!!
Here are a few ideas to get you and your students thinking mathematically about Luck, Rainbows, and Pots of Gold!
This article explains the real reason why my sisters and I used to find so many four leaf clovers in my Grandpa Cordes's lawn. (He told us it was because he was a florist and a German Leprechaun!)
>>>>>>>What Is The Probability of Finding A Four Leaf Clover?
This blog tells you how to find a four leaf clover.
>>>>>>>>How To Find A Four Leaf Clover
Did you know that rainbows in entirety are actually circular shaped? Ok, are you having a math aha here! You're about to capture some lucky charms here!
Here is a way too cool video about the rainbow math connection.
>>>>>>> Hooky Rainbow and Math Video
Experiment on how to make rainbows (5 different ways!)
>>>>>>> Making rainbows
More great ideas here from K-12
>>>>>>> Mathy Rainbow Stuff!
>>>>>>> More Mathy Rainbow Stuff!
Pot of Gold:
>>>>>>>> Elementary Math Ideas
Middle and High School
Use the following free printable to generate word problems on any current topic of study.
Love this idea because you are be as clever as a Leprechan in getting students to delve into the magic of creating their own word problems. This in turn helps them understand the language and construction of the word problems they may encounter on upcoming state tests. Make this extra fun by having students take the quiz then draw a lucky number from a pot of gold that corresponds with an item from the quiz. Students then compose a problem related to the current or past topic of study about that quiz item. What an amazing pot of gold you're sitting on!!
There is no better way to understand word problems than to write them.
>>>>>>>> Saint Patrick's Day Trivia for Writing Word Problems.
Hope you enjoy these ideas and go have a magically delicious math day on March 17th and every day!