I love routines as much as my students do. I know they are great and effective for helping all of us to get the most out of one class period. Being prepared for a certain class structure eases the anxiety some students have about math and their success. In Math 6, it’s important to build in as much time for practice and experience as possible. Our 75 minute block-classes are critical to their preparation for the following year and next-level concepts.
However, sometimes a routine needs shaking up to keep things fun and engaging! When planning a unit, I like to see where there might be opportunities to change our regular routine in meaningful and fun ways! Most recently, I created an “operating room” to show how important math skills are to preparing for a medical procedure.
Students were greeted at the door with surgical caps and masks. They entered the room to find the furniture all moved, and the outline of human bodies posted everywhere. To start the class, we had a surgical conference where we reviewed the most “current operating procedures” or “the order of the scheduled operations.” We then used a few test patients to go over example problems. Each “patient” was a different type of surgery.
For example, patient number four needed kidney surgery. The outlined drawing of this patient had a clipart kidney attached to it, as well as a fun fact about the kidneys. In order to save the patient, they had to use their operating skills correctly!
What I love most about planning experiences like this, where we take a break from routine, is seeing the joy that students have in recognizing the application of their learned skills and that their practice pays off! Students worked hard on a variety of rigorous order of operations problems and they had fun doing it!
Seeing your teacher in costume, being called “Dr. [insert student last name here]” during class, and hearing the sound of an EKG machine set the stage for a memorable experience. Students walked around the remainder of their day with surgical caps still on, brought smiles to the faces of everyone on campus, and provided students a great opportunity to talk about the work they did.
I love teaching at The Gregory School because I can do what is best for students every day. I have the opportunity to customize what I teach to fit the passions and needs of my students. The students, faculty, and families are part of an amazing and supportive learning community inside and outside of the classroom.Amie Bergersen