Sunday, March 10, 2013

March Motivation - Multiplication Rock Star

Multiplication facts have always been an important skill for elementary students to learn. Building automaticity and fluency is key for students when they must be able to apply the skill at high levels of rigor. A great way to build these skills is through timed tests where students get faster solving these problems little by little.

The problem often becomes the boredom or frustration from the monotony of taking timed tests. Kids lament "This is boring" or "I can't do this". Kids can do it, but the presentation of "you have to do these timed tests" lacks appeal.

The reality is we want our kids to be rock stars. Well, if we want them to rock out their multiplication facts, we need to give them a rock concert to work towards.

Here are the steps that our math curriculum interventionist and 4th grade teachers took to make their students Rock Stars!

Steps to Set up Multiplication Rock Star

Step 1
Set up a rock concert where the teachers are the performers. Yes, they can lip-sync or karaoke the songs, but it is best if they dress up for it.

Step 2
Use the times from the students' timed tests to gain them different levels of access to the concert.
Example - 4 minutes gets you into the show, 3 minutes get you into the mosh pit. 2 minutes get you a backstage pass.

Step 3
Promote your concert. Our teachers promoted the concert and put up a big poster to add the kids' rock star times when they reached 4, 3, and 2 minutes. The kids walked by the poster everyday and kept up with who was going to the show.

Step 4 
Make the show a memorable experience. Our teachers did a fantastic job and rocked out for the kids. It took 30 minutes and was well worth the time.

Multiplication Rock Star changed the kids opinion of memorizing math facts and of the stigma of hard work. Kids learned that hard work pays off and that their teachers care for them and their efforts in learning. Multiplication can be boring, and kids enjoy working hard when they know a cool inventive awaits them. Grades don't motivate every student but a focus on improvement does. So take a chance and rock out math with Multiplication Rock Star!

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