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©2011 Love of Learning Educational Services, LLC. All rights reserved.
© 2011 Love of Learning and Educational Services, LLC. All rights reserved.Reproduction or translation of any part of this...
Simple Strategy #1: Novelty  “Novelty creates a stronger opportunity for new learning and pathways in the brain.”         ...
Using NOVELY in the Math Classroom:Here are some ideas for using Novelty in the Math classroom:     When introducing a ne...
   Have students make up songs or dances to go along with a skill or concept    youre teaching.   Use a new kind of mani...
   Tell a story that relates to topic youre teaching. Story telling is a very powerful       way to bring meaning to lear...
Simple Strategy #2: Experience Before Label   N  Our Brains Strive to Make Meaning!  Most of the time we introduce new con...
Share these Common Experiences with the math teachers that teach the grade aboveyours. If you’ve provided Common Experienc...
Tip:    If YouTube is blocked at your school, or you just want the ads and comments to    be present, you can use VuSafe o...
   Use manipulatives before giving the Label.    Example: Have students measure and cut string into ½ inch sections, befo...
Simple Strategy #3: Location, Location, Location!  Our Brains Love to Make Associations!  Have you ever heard the expressi...
Using EXPERIENCE BEFORE LABEL in theMath Classroom:Here are some ideas for providing Experience Before Label in theMath cl...
   Have students change seats for a day or a week. Or, just for an activity!    Example: If you’re going to spend a week ...
Bonus: The Evolution of a Lesson  Circumference: The Evolution of a Lesson  The example below demonstrates how I took a le...
   Students would measure the string used for the diameter of the circle and the       string used for the Circumference ...
Introducing the Lesson:In order to build curiosity and anticipation, I would place hula hoops at the front of room.I wante...
Here’s a link to the Recording Sheet that students used for this activity:http://www.scribd.com/doc/52975255/Circumference...
Relevance and emotions also played a part in making this lesson more memorable.Students were interested in the hula hoops,...
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IGNITE Student Engagement in Math: 3 Simple Strategies for Making Content Memorable

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Have your students ever acted like they don't remember what you taught (even a few days before!)? Learn 3 easy ways to make all content more memorable. You'll be surprised how well these strategies work!

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Transcript of "IGNITE Student Engagement in Math: 3 Simple Strategies for Making Content Memorable"

  1. 1. ©2011 Love of Learning Educational Services, LLC. All rights reserved.
  2. 2. © 2011 Love of Learning and Educational Services, LLC. All rights reserved.Reproduction or translation of any part of this work without permission is prohibited and againstthe law. This publication is provided free of charge to offer information with regard to thesubject matter covered.Please see www.loledservices.com for additional information.Want more tips and resources?Read our blog: http://loledservices.blogspot.com/You can also email Kristi with questions. kristi.grande@gmail.com A Math Teacher’s Resource Guide for Incorporating Easy-to-Use Technology to MOTIVATE and EMPOWER 21st Century Learners ©2011 Love of Learning Educational Services, LLC. All rights reserved.
  3. 3. Simple Strategy #1: Novelty “Novelty creates a stronger opportunity for new learning and pathways in the brain.” Eric Jensen Novelty captures the brains attention! Our brains are wired to pay attention to new things. If you think about it, this makes perfect sense. We are constantly bombarded with new and incoming information. Our brains have to prioritize what is most important for our survival. So anything that is new or different gets top priority. When it comes to teaching, this is HUGE!!! If we want something to really make an IMPACT on students, we need to first make sure that we’ve got their attention. So what does this mean for math teachers? “An environment that contains mainly predictable or repeated stimuli lowers the brain’s interest in the outside world and tempts it to turn within for novel sensations.” David A. Sousa We can use Novelty to capture students attention and eliminate boredom. Novelty also strengthens memory! When things are different they have a tendency to stand out in our minds. If things are always the same, they just blend in with everything else. In this paragraph, you probably noticed “capture student’s attention”, “eliminate boredom”, “Novelty also strengthens memory”, and “You need to use lots of Novelty if you want your content to stand out!” right away because they appear differently than everything else. The same thing happens when we experience math content in different ways. You need to use lots of Novelty if you want your content to stand out! It’s helpful to use Novelty when introducing new material. Think about how much new input students brains receive each day. Unfortunately for us, most of our student’s brains probably don’t put math at the top of their list! So, we’ve got to do something to make new content stand out. Using Novelty when introducing new concepts helps to create contrast from other content. Novelty also makes math topics and concepts stand out from each other. ©2011 Love of Learning Educational Services, LLC. All rights reserved.
  4. 4. Using NOVELY in the Math Classroom:Here are some ideas for using Novelty in the Math classroom:  When introducing a new topic show a video clip that relates to the concept. Example 1: Before introducing Pythagorean Theorem, you could show a video of someone flying a kite. Ask students how high the kite is and have them speculate about how you figure out the height. Really use this to build anticipation! Example 2: Video tape your track team and show this video before teaching a lesson on Statistics. FYI: These days it’s really easy to find videos. YouTube, TeacherTube, and Vimeo are 3 great sources for finding videos. You can use the links below: YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/ Teacher Tube: http://www1.teachertube.com/ Vimeo: http://vimeo.com/ Tip: If YouTube is blocked at your school, or you just want the ads and comments to be present, you can use VuSafe or SafeShare.TV to filter the video. VuSafe: http://www.m86vusafe.com/ SafeShare.TV: http://www.safeshare.tv/ In addition to filtering YouTube videos, SafeShare.TV also allows you to crop the videos. This is great if you only want to show part of the video.  Bring in an object that relates to the concept being taught. Example 1: If you’re teaching a lesson on Volume you could bring in a fish tank. Example 2: If you’re teaching Pythagorean Theorem, you could have your students fly kites and use Pythagorean Theorem to find the height of the kite. ©2011 Love of Learning Educational Services, LLC. All rights reserved.
  5. 5.  Have students make up songs or dances to go along with a skill or concept youre teaching. Use a new kind of manipulative. Use a new method for putting students into groups. Have students interview each other about the topic they are learning. Example: Have students pretend to be a talk show host or news reporter. They can write the questions they’d ask about the topic. Then have them take turns interviewing their partner about the given topic. As an extra incentive, they can make videos that will be shown to the class later. (Students love to watch each other on video. They are also more vested in creating a quality product if they know it will be viewed by others.) Tip: If you have students make videos of their interviews, you can place them on your class website or blog. Have a guest speaker or teacher. Example 1: If another teacher in the building teaches the same thing as you, try trading classes for a day. Example 2: Ask the principal, counselor, or someone else in the building to come in and work through a problem with students. Example 3: Have a community member come in and teach a lesson or talk about how they use math in their job. Have students text their parent about the topic/concept their learning. Imagine the surprise if one day you ask students to take out their cell phones! ©2011 Love of Learning Educational Services, LLC. All rights reserved.
  6. 6.  Tell a story that relates to topic youre teaching. Story telling is a very powerful way to bring meaning to learning, as well as, introducing some novelty. Example: Tell a story about an experience you had on a Farris Wheel before teaching a lesson on Circumference.  Use a new type of technology.These are just some ideas for introducing Novelty into your lessons. The key is toalways be thinking about what you can do to introduce new experiences into thelearning environment.Remember, something is only novel for a shorttime, so we have to continually find new ways tointroduce novelty into our lessons! ©2011 Love of Learning Educational Services, LLC. All rights reserved.
  7. 7. Simple Strategy #2: Experience Before Label N Our Brains Strive to Make Meaning! Most of the time we introduce new concepts by telling students what they’re going to learn, and then we provide some type of experience for the learning. For example, we tell students that they’re going to learn how to divide fractions. Then we have them do an activity with manipulatives to give the experience of dividing fractions. But, if we want to make learning more memorable, we should reverse this process. We should actually have students do the activity with manipulatives BEFORE we mention the Label dividing fractions (see example). It seems odd at first, but when you try this you’ll be surprised at the results! When learning new things we try to make sense of the new information by associating it with prior experiences and knowledge. These associations are also what help us retrieve memories later. By providing experiences before putting labels on learning, we give a context for meaning. When we do this for our students, we also level the playing field. Our students come to us with very diverse backgrounds. Often, we teach things thinking all of our students have the background to make meaningful connections. However, in many instances, it doesn’t take long to realize out that isn’t the case. Providing experiences before giving labels allows ALL students the opportunity to make meaning by attaching their learning to this prior experience. There are also some added benefits to teaching this way. When you provide experiences before labeling the learning, students become curious about what is happening. They begin to wonder what they’re learning and the anticipation builds. Curiosity and anticipation are two of the best states for learning! You will find that your job becomes much easier. Students are more engaged in learning and they’re primed and ready for the Label. When this technique is done really well, your students will practically beg you for the Label! So what does this mean for math teachers? Start providing Experiences before assigning Labels to new learning. You should try to do this as often as possible when introducing new concepts. Providing these common experiences will not only help students make meaning of their learning, they also help students retrieve the learning later. If you find that it seems like your students have forgotten something they learned previously, just remind them of the Experience. They’ll likely be able to remember because the association will help them retrieve the memory. ©2011 Love of Learning Educational Services, LLC. All rights reserved.
  8. 8. Share these Common Experiences with the math teachers that teach the grade aboveyours. If you’ve provided Common Experiences when teaching certain concepts in 7 thgrade, the 8th grade teacher can refer back to these Experiences when they needstudents to remember a particular concept. This will help to save a lot of the frustrationwe feel when we think students should know something. Often, it’s not that they don’tknow or haven’t seen the concept; it’s that they can’t retrieve the memories. Byreferring to the Common Experience, many students will be able to make theassociation to prior learning.Using EXPERIENCE BEFORE LABEL in theMath Classroom:Here are some ideas for providing Experience Before Label in theMath classroom:Most of the ideas for using Novelty in the Math classroom would also apply to providingExperience Before Label.  When introducing a new topic show a video clip that relates to the concept. Example 1: Before introducing Pythagorean Theorem, you could show a video of someone flying a kite. Ask students how high the kite is and have them speculate about how you figure out the height. Really use this to build anticipation! Example 2: Before teaching a lesson on area, show a video of a dog tied to a stake. Ask students how much room the dog has to roam around. Ask students what factor(s) determines how much room the dog has to roam (the length of the rope). Example 3: Before introducing Volume, show a video of someone swimming. Have students guess how many gallons of water the pool would hold. FYI: These days it’s really easy to find videos. YouTube, TeacherTube, and Vimeo are 3 great sources for finding videos. You can use the links below: YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/ Teacher Tube: http://www1.teachertube.com/ Vimeo: http://vimeo.com/ ©2011 Love of Learning Educational Services, LLC. All rights reserved.
  9. 9. Tip: If YouTube is blocked at your school, or you just want the ads and comments to be present, you can use VuSafe or SafeShare.TV to filter the video. VuSafe: http://www.m86vusafe.com/ SafeShare.TV: http://www.safeshare.tv/ In addition to filtering YouTube videos, SafeShare.TV also allows you to crop the videos. This is great if you only want to show part of the video. Bring in an object that relates to the concept being taught. Example 1: If you’re teaching a lesson on Surface Area, bring in boxes and have students paint or color each side with different colors. They could use the same color to paint corresponding sides of the box. Example 2: If you’re teaching Pythagorean Theorem, you could have your students fly kites and use Pythagorean Theorem to find the height of the kite. Or, bring in a ladder and place it against the wall. Example 3: Before introducing Measures of Central Tendency, take out your cell phone and send a text message. Make a big production about stopping class to send a text message. You could even make up a story about having to send a Text to the Principal. If this is not something you would normally do, it will create an Experience that students will remember! Follow this up by discussing how many texts you and your students send each day. Make up a dance that has motions which go along with a skill or concept youre teaching. Teach students the dance without any putting any labels to the motions. After students have practiced the dance several times, provide the Labels for the motions. I’ve used this before when teaching Order of Operations. I made up arm movements that represented Parentheses, Exponents, Multiplication, Division, Addition, and Subtraction. After teaching the “Dance”, I explained what each motion represented and how it applied to Order of Operations. When doing something like this, remember to really set it up in a way that builds Anticipation. ©2011 Love of Learning Educational Services, LLC. All rights reserved.
  10. 10.  Use manipulatives before giving the Label. Example: Have students measure and cut string into ½ inch sections, before telling them that are Dividing Fractions. Have a guest speaker or teacher. Example: Before teaching Rates and Unit Rates, have a local Artist come in a talk about how long it takes to create one piece of art and how they determine the cost. They can show several pieces of their work and tell how long it took to make each piece. Students can calculate the hourly rate for each piece of art. Tip: If you can’t get an artist to come to your class, video tape them. You can achieve a similar effect, and you’ll have the video to use later. Tell a story that relates to topic youre teaching. Story telling is a very powerful way to bring meaning to learning. Example: Tell a story about an experience you had on a Farris Wheel before teaching a lesson on Circumference. ©2011 Love of Learning Educational Services, LLC. All rights reserved.
  11. 11. Simple Strategy #3: Location, Location, Location! Our Brains Love to Make Associations! Have you ever heard the expression, “Location is everything!”? Well, we could say the same is true when it comes to creating long-term memories. Memories are formed by making associations. The more associations we make, the stronger the memory. As seen in the previous 2 strategies, it’s possible to create situations in order for students to make associations for their learning. We can also create associations by anchoring content to particular locations. For example, if you always stand in the same spot every time you mention Ratios, students will associate that spot in the room with Ratios. There are a few different ways that you can use location to impact memories. One way, as mentioned above, is to anchor the content to a specific location. Another is to have your students change their physical location. For example, if you’re about to say something that is really important about Ratios and you want students to remember it, have the entire class come to the front of the room. Tell them the important information then have students go back to their seats. By having your students come to front of the room, you have created an association for the new information. Students will remember being in the front of the room when they first learned about Ratios. So what does this mean for math teachers? Whenever we want to make content more memorable, we can use location to create associations to the learning. Review your Grade Level Standards and pick topics/concepts that you think are important. Think about how you can “Anchor” these concepts to some location in or out of your classroom. Consider whether it would be more beneficial to change your physical location or the student’s physical location when discussing the concept. If you want something to really stand out, consider moving to a location outside of your classroom. The more drastic the location change, the more the memory will “stand out”. ©2011 Love of Learning Educational Services, LLC. All rights reserved.
  12. 12. Using EXPERIENCE BEFORE LABEL in theMath Classroom:Here are some ideas for providing Experience Before Label in theMath classroom:  Trade classrooms with another teacher. Example: If you’re teaching a lesson on using Finite Differences to find the equation that represents a pattern, ask another teacher if you can trade classes for the day. This will create an association for your lesson on Finite Differences. When you discuss Finite Differences in the future, you can say “remember when we did ______ in ______ classroom.”  Teach a lesson outside, in the cafeteria, in the gym, or anywhere else in the building. Again, students will associate this lesson with the location. This is also a way to add some Novelty to your class. If you don’t normally teach outside of your classroom, the difference will stand out even more!  Place content posters in different locations around the room. Stand next to or underneath the poster each time you talk about the topic. For example: Make posters for Mean, Median, Mode and Range. Place them next to each other on a wall. Every time you talk about Mean, go and physically stand underneath or next to that poster. When you talk about the Median, go and physically stand next to that poster.  Use the four walls and the four corners of your room to anchor content. Example: Anchor each of the four Fraction Operations to a wall or corner of the room. Teach Adding Fractions from the front of the room, Subtracting Fractions from the back of the room, Multiplying Fractions from the right side of the room, and Dividing Fractions from the left side of the room. ©2011 Love of Learning Educational Services, LLC. All rights reserved.
  13. 13.  Have students change seats for a day or a week. Or, just for an activity! Example: If you’re going to spend a week teaching about Similar Figures, assign students new seats just for that week. Have students who normally sit in the front move to the back, etc. Added Benefit: Having students move to a different area of the room changes their perception. It can change the way they see and hear things in the room. ©2011 Love of Learning Educational Services, LLC. All rights reserved.
  14. 14. Bonus: The Evolution of a Lesson Circumference: The Evolution of a Lesson The example below demonstrates how I took a lesson on Circumference that was not and make it Memorable. This evolution took place over several years of my teaching career. In Scenario 3, you’ll notice a HUGE difference in the way I taught the lesson. The best part is that my students benefited by gaining deeper understanding and better retention of the concepts. It’s important to note that this was done with students at Title I schools. Scenario 1: Rote Learning (Not Memorable!) When I first started teaching, I pretty much taught everything in a rote and abstract manner. So to teach Circumference I would just tell my students the formula for Circumference, show them how to input the variables, and finally I’d show them how to solve the equation. We would do several guided practice problems and they were let loose to practice about 20 problems on their own. There was no meaning associated with the learning at all! There was also no Novelty involved in the way I taught the lesson. Scenario 2: A Discovery Lesson (Somewhat Memorable!) After a few years of teaching, I learned how to teach math conceptually. This was HUGE for me since I had not learned math this way! I immediately began to implement Conceptual Development of mathematical concepts into my teaching. Once I had this enlightenment, I began to teach Circumference differently. Here’s how I taught Circumference:  I would bring in different sized circular objects and string.  Students would use the string to compare the diameter of the circle to the Circumference of the circle. ©2011 Love of Learning Educational Services, LLC. All rights reserved.
  15. 15.  Students would measure the string used for the diameter of the circle and the string used for the Circumference of the circle. They would record their findings in a table. Diameter Circumference in inches Process in inches (d) (C) We would then repeat this process with radius.The point was to get students to see the relationship between the diameter andCircumference of the circle. This would lead to the discovery of Pi and theCircumference formula.Teaching the lesson this way was much more memorable for several reasons.  Students were engaged in the learning process by having to actually measure and compare the diameter to the circumference.  By discovering the formula, Circumference had much more meaning to students.  We had incorporated some Novelty because it wasn’t just another worksheet. It was also different to have to measure the various circular objects.After teaching the lesson this way, I definitely noticed an improvement in understandingand retention rates. If students did forget things about Circumference, I could jog theirmemories by just reminding them about when we measured the circular objects withstring.Scenario 3: Adding in Some Novelty (Now it’s Memorable!)Several years later after learning about Brain-Based Learning, I decided that I couldmake this lesson even more Memorable for my students by adding some Novelty.We basically did the same lesson as described in Scenario 2 with these variations.  Instead of just bringing in basic circular objects like paper plates and container lids, I decided to use different sized hula hoops.  I made more of a production about introducing the lesson. ©2011 Love of Learning Educational Services, LLC. All rights reserved.
  16. 16. Introducing the Lesson:In order to build curiosity and anticipation, I would place hula hoops at the front of room.I wanted to make sure that they were seen when students entered the room. As youcan imagine, they were! The hula hoops definitely created a buzz, which was exactlywhat I wanted.Just by the sight of the hula hoops, my students were being “hooked”. They wanted toknow what was going to happen. In fact, they could hardly make it through the” WarmUp” because they were so curious about the hula hoops.When it was time to start the lesson, I would choose a hula hoop and attempt to use it.After the laughter subsided, I would ask the class these questions. Does it matter what size hula hoop you use? Why? Is it easier to use a large hula hoop or a small hula hoop?We would spend a few minutes debating these questions. Based on their priorexperience, they tended to agree that the larger hula hoops were easier to use.Next, I would ask students what “Math” word could be used to describe the size of aHula Hoop. These were 7th graders so they had prior exposure to the termCircumference. It sometimes took a few prompts, but someone would eventually getthe correct word.After discussing the vocabulary related to circles, I would explain that we were going tocompare the relationship between the diameter and the Circumference and therelationship between the radius and the Circumference. I would have them makepredictions about the following.  How many diameters will it take to equal the Circumference of the hula hoop?  How many radii will it take to equal the Circumference of the hula hoop?  Will these relationships change based on the size of the hula hoop?The Lesson:I would give students the instructions for the activity and get them started. While doingthe activity, they would complete the attached recording sheet where they completedthe table and graphs. I changed the activity by not having them measure the string.This time, they were just noticing that the Circumference was a little more than 3 timesthe diameter. ©2011 Love of Learning Educational Services, LLC. All rights reserved.
  17. 17. Here’s a link to the Recording Sheet that students used for this activity:http://www.scribd.com/doc/52975255/Circumference-Introduction-Hula-Hoop-LessonThe Result:After teaching the lesson this way, I noticed marked improvements in understandingand retention rates! This time even my weakest students and my ELL seemed to beable to grasp the concepts of Circumference and Pi. Overall, my students rarely hadtrouble remembering that the Circumference is a little more than 3 times the diameterand that it’s a little more than 6 times the radius. Throughout the year if it had been awhile since we had done anything with Circumference, it might seem like they hadforgotten. I would just remind them about the activity we did with hula hoops and itwould come right back to them.So, what made the difference?There are actually several reasons this lesson became more memorable. The lesson inScenario 3 involved Novelty and Experience Before Label. Students were able toconnect their learning to previous experiences they’d had with Hula Hoops and topreviously learned math vocabulary.Novelty is definitely one of the big reasons students were able to better recall what theyhad learned. By bringing in Novelty with the hula hoops, students were interested inand curious about what they were about to learn. They were more attentive to thelearning because it was something different and fun. When students needed toremember things about Pi and Circumference later, it was easier to recall because itwas the only time they’d ever seen hula hoops in a math class.If you want to make learning more memorable, Novelty should be a regular part of yourdaily lessons. As you begin to include more Novelty into your lessons, you’ll notice thatretention rates are not the only benefit. You’ll also notice that attention andmotivation are positively affected!Creating an Experience Before Label by having students discover Pi, gave students ameaning for attaching the Label of Pi. Where Pi usually an abstract concept, it becamemeaningful for students because they had a context or association for the term.This Experience Before Label also became important and helpful later in the year whenwe discussed Proportional Relationships. Students had an association that helpedthem realize that all circles are proportional to each other. Since they had measuredand compared different sized Hula Hoops, they knew that the Circumference of a circleis always a little more than 3 times the diameter and a little more than 6 times the radiusregardless of the size of the circle. ©2011 Love of Learning Educational Services, LLC. All rights reserved.
  18. 18. Relevance and emotions also played a part in making this lesson more memorable.Students were interested in the hula hoops, they had prior experience with the hulahoops, and they enjoyed seeing me “try” to hula hoop. Along with Novelty andExperience Before Label, these things really made a huge impact on student’sunderstanding and retention rates.Please see www.loledservices.com for additional information.Want more tips and resources?Read our blog: http://loledservices.blogspot.com/You can also email Kristi with questions. kristi.grande@gmail.com A Math Teacher’s Resource Guide for Incorporating Easy-to-Use Technology to MOTIVATE and EMPOWER 21st Century Learners ©2011 Love of Learning Educational Services, LLC. All rights reserved.

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