In my small math groups, we are often doing HARD work. We do it repeatedly in order to make it easier. But doing 3-Digit computation over and over can be frustrating and easy to avoid for our students with disabilities. I’ve been working to find 5 quick and easy ideas to motivate my students in math by encouraging them to keep working hard and trying difficult tasks.
Countdown or Token Board
I like to use a countdown or token board as a motivator to keep my students going. I add a number to the countdown board with each and every step of the problem. They can quickly earn rewards, such as a skittle, m&m, gummy bear, or goldfish. I like to use this for students who need behavior interventions or for students who are really struggling. It helps break up the tasks in small pieces.
Speaking of candy, I like to give students candy to keep them motivated. Most kids will do anything for an m&m or two. If you are ok with giving your students candy, these are a few of my favorites.
My kids LOVE any kind of bingo, and math bingo is no exceptions. I write the answers on the board ahead of time and have the students add the numbers to their bingo boards.
We solve the problems and mark them off on our bingo boards to see if we get a BINGO! I usually let the winner get a prize from the prize box.
Once my students are a little more proficient at solving problems, I like to help them transition to being more independent. I do this by picking a mystery problem. I write the number on a Post-It note before we get started.
Once they finish all of the problems, I check to see who has the mystery problem correct. Whoever has the problem correct can get a sticker, pick a prize, or be the line leader. The choices for the reward are endless!
Prize Box Problem
This is such a simple and easy way to get your students excited about computation! I have timers set to go off each and every day at 1:00 and 1:25. This is about 15 minutes into our group. When the timer goes off, our next problem becomes our Prize Box Problem!
This also helps ensure that we have time to complete the right hand side of our page. These computation problems can take a LONG time, especially if we are just learning the skill. It is a great way to motivate them to try something independently instead of relying on the rest of the group for answers.
These 5 quick and easy ideas to motivate your students in math will help make your small groups run more efficiently and motivate your students to do their best! I mean who wouldn’t want that?!
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