How is it possible to spend only 15 minutes a day and improve math teaching skills as a result? It all has to do with how those 15 minutes are spent. By making a conscious effort to check student understanding, increase student engagement and foster teamwork in the classroom, math teachers will see their teaching abilities grow exponentially. Let’s break it down into five-minute segments.
<h2>The First Five Minutes</h2>
Take five minutes each day to break students into cooperative teams. Give them shorter problems to work on to start, and slowly build up to longer timeframes and more complex material. Make sure to use part of the time to clearly explain and enforce expectations for effective group work. By increasing the time students spend working together, math teachers are building better collaboration and cooperation skills in their students. The results will make a more effective learning environment overall, as well as increasing math achievement scores.
<h2>The Second Five Minutes</h2>
Take five minutes of time spent lecturing to observe student behavior. Are students upright, making eye-contact and taking notes? Or are they slumped in their seats, staring off into space and passing notes instead? High rates of student engagement are a hallmark of effective teachers, and an indicator of better math scores. Practice taking five minutes a day and adjusting lectures to try and engage all students. Add a story, joke or mnemonic device. Increase student response rates for a quick increase in engagement. Instead of slowing lecture down to make sure that students have gotten all the information, try speeding up. With time and practice, math teachers will figure out what works best for their classroom.
<h2>The Final Five Minutes</h2>
Finally, spend five quick minutes doing a quick check for understanding on the most important concepts covered in the lecture that day. Have students fill out exit slips, post responses on an internet message board or write problems for each other to solve. By checking for understanding, and keeping a running tally of who has mastered each concept and who is struggling, math teachers avoid any unpleasant surprises after tests.
Practicing these three simple concepts for just 15 minutes a day can produce great results in any math classroom.