Hot Question of the Week: How can we as math educators keep our students engaged?

According to Ben Johnson the following is how you know your students are engaged:

So, how do they know if a student is engaged? What do "engaged" students look like? In my many observations, here's some evidence to look for:

Teacher-Directed Learning

You will see students...

  • Paying attention (alert, tracking with their eyes)
  • Taking notes (particularly Cornell)
  • Listening (as opposed to chatting, or sleeping)
  • Asking questions (content related, or in a game, like 21 questions or I-Spy)
  • Responding to questions (whole group, small group, four corners, Socratic Seminar)
  • Following requests (participating, Total Physical Response (TPR), storytelling, Simon Says)
  • Reacting (laughing, crying, shouting, etc.)

Student-Directed Learning

You see students individually or in small groups...

  • Reading critically (with pen in hand)
  • Writing to learn, creating, planning, problem solving, discussing, debating, and asking questions)
  • Performing/presenting, inquiring, exploring, explaining, evaluating, and experimenting)
  • Interacting with other students, gesturing and moving

I agree with most of what Mr. Johnson considers an engaged student, but I don't know about you but I would be a little concerned if my students were crying and I definitely don't want them shouting because they still need to be considerate of other classes that are in session and not only that but some students are sensitive to loud noises. Yes, students may be engaged but that's where classroom management comes into play and students are aware of what voice level they should be using. 

On another note, as a math educator, in order to keep my students engaged, lecturing the entire time doesn't seem to cut it now a a-days. We're dealing with a different breed of kids and if you want to hold their attention you better infuse technology, play games, incorporate fun activities into your lesson or else you have lost them at "hello." 

Did Mr. Johnson miss something??? What do you do to keep your students engaged? If you have something to add, please share…your opinion matters! 

 

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Notes

Figure This Challenge #56

  • Complete Solution will be given on May 17, 2015

Complete Solution:

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Created by Wanda Collins May 10, 2015 at 1:56pm. Last updated by Wanda Collins May 10, 2015.

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Fun Math Facts:

Math Limerick

Question: Why is this a mathematical limerick?

( (12 + 144 + 20 + 3 Sqrt[4]) / 7 ) + 5*11 = 92 + 0 .

Answer:

A dozen, a gross, and a score,
plus three times the square root of four, divided by seven, plus five times eleven, is nine squared and not a bit more.

---Jon Saxton (math textbook author)

Presentation Suggestions:
Challenge students to invent their own math limerick!

The Math Behind the Fact:
It is fun to mix mathematics with poetry.

Resources:

Su, Francis E., et al. "Math Limerick." Math Fun Facts.

funfacts

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