Have you ever found yourself in the middle of teaching a math lesson – only to look up and find 20+ sets of glazed-over eyes? Unfortunately, math can have this effect on students! Whether it’s because we are fed ideas about how difficult math is (aka the old “I’m not a math person” saying) or because students truly struggle with math, it can be hard to get students engaged.
If math engagement is a challenge for you, you’ve found the right blog! I’ve put together a list of my 20+ favorite math engagement strategies to share with you. Say “goodbye” to boring lessons or spending hours trying Googling ideas to “spice up” your lessons. This cheat sheet will make math engagement a breeze.
Math Engagement Cheat Sheet
You’ve likely attended hours of PD and meetings over math engagement strategies, and I know how hard it can be to keep up with all the strategies you learned. To make things simple, I created a math engagement cheat sheet.
The Math Engagement Strategies Freebie combines 20+ strategies into one single place. With this freebie, you won’t have to remember every strategy on the fly or spend hours searching online. Instead, you’ll be able to quickly access this list and incorporate strategies into your lessons seamlessly.
This freebie is great for –
- any middle school math teacher
- anyone wanting to increase math engagement
- any teacher noticing that students are bored during math
- teachers that are struggling to balance all the things: admin expectations, new strategies to try, ever-changing curriculum, etc.
If you fall into any of those categories, then the Math Engagement Strategies Freebie will greatly help!
I’ve broken the engagement strategies into four different sections: strategies to use with the entire class, partner activities, independent work, and assessments or quick checks. Most of the ideas included can be incorporated with minimal prep on your part, which means you can easily add them to your next lesson.
How Can I Make the Most of the Engagement Strategies?
The best thing to do is keep this cheat sheet handy! I’ve condensed everything into two pages, so you can print it 2-sided and laminate it (or use a page protector). Store it on a clipboard you carry with you during instruction or hang it on the wall near your desk for easy access while planning.
I recommend setting a goal for yourself when it comes to using these strategies. It can feel a bit overwhelming at first, so pick a goal that is realistic for you. A goal might be to use one new strategy every math lesson or try the engagement strategies by a certain date. Add a checkmark to the strategies you’ve used, so you can easily see which ones you have left to try.
You can color code your sheet as you try them as well. For example, you can pick one color to represent a strategy that worked well with your group and another color to represent a strategy you made need to adjust. As you use the math engagement strategies, highlight them with the right color, so you know if it’s worth using again.
Engagement Strategy Model
I don’t want to be the person who dumps a new tool in your lap but doesn’t help you make sense of it. Instead, I want to give an example of how you can easily add one of these math engagement strategies to your lesson.
One of the partner activity strategies listed in the freebie is to have students work together to create an anchor chart that shows step-by-step how to solve a math problem. I’ve found that my middle school students love to write on the board and create posters, so I’m using that desire to our advantage here by having partners of students create their own anchor charts.
By having students create the anchor charts, they will have to refer back to what they learned, review the concept, and they will be creating reference materials for the classroom. When I use this strategy, there is hardly any prep. I simply make sure I have time built into my lesson to make it happen. Then, I gather chart paper, markers, and other writing utensils.
During the activity, I circulate around the room and listen to the conversations students are having. These conversations will be a huge part of my reflection after the lesson is over. I’ll ask myself whether or not students were engaged, estimate the on-task behavior versus off-task behavior, and then mark my cheat sheet accordingly on whether or not this is a strategy I want to use again in the future. Implementing these math engagement strategies can really be as simple as that!
Don’t forget to download the Engagement Strategies Cheat Sheet! This quick list includes 20+ engagement strategies you can begin using right away in one easy place. No more trying to track down or remember all the engagement strategies you’ve learned.