5 Ways to Get Students Psyched for the Math Challenge
Ready, set goals, go!
The DreamBox 2017 Fall Math Challenge commenced last Monday and we’re off to an impressive start. If you missed the kick-off webinar, you can still view it on demand here. It’s a short session that covers all the ground rules—as well as tips for setting goals, tracking progress, and motivating your mathematicians to complete more lessons than ever.
Keep in mind that good habits formed during the Math Challenge can drive growth all year long. Here are five ways you can build excitement over the next couple of weeks, and keep the momentum going strong throughout the rest of the school year—and beyond.
- Use your existing data to help set goals, or use recommended usage levels as a baseline: It’s a great idea to set goals with your students and your classroom throughout the year while using DreamBox, but during the Math Challenge you’ll want to kick your usage up a notch. As a best practice, we recommend students spend 45-90 minutes per week on DreamBox. During the Challenge however, we find that many students are motivated to put in extra time. Maybe during recess, break, or lab time, if they’ve completed all of their other work, you can encourage your students to hop on DreamBox and squeeze in an extra lesson here and there. And, if your students have access to DreamBox from home, they can log even more time completing extra lessons. Earlier this year, the Math Challenge coincided with Spring Break for many regions—but, incredibly, students continued to complete DreamBox lessons even while they were on vacation!./Show each student how they can contribute to class goals: Use the data you’ve collected in DreamBox over the last two months to start having one-on-one conferences with your kids. Show them how many lessons they completed in the last three weeks and explain how they could be a key contributor and valuable team player during the Math Challenge. Ask them if they think they can push themselves to complete one or two additional lessons a week. If you can get them individually excited about meeting goals toward a larger team goal, then they’ll be motivated to continue playing throughout the challenge.
- Show each student how they can contribute to class goals: Use the data you’ve collected in DreamBox over the last two months to start having one-on-one conferences with your kids. Show them how many lessons they completed in the last three weeks and explain how they could be a key contributor and valuable team player during the Math Challenge. Ask them if they think they can push themselves to complete one or two additional lessons a week. If you can get them individually excited about meeting goals toward a larger team goal, then they’ll be motivated to continue playing throughout the challenge.
- Celebrate individual accomplishments as a class: As students start accomplishing some of their personal goals within the context of the team goal, be sure to celebrate their achievements. If you click on Classroom Motivators under the Resources tab at the top of your DreamBox Insight Dashboard, you’ll find a printable Student of Excellence certificate that you can use to recognize individual students. You can also award stickers for various milestones, or simply call out students in front of the class. Shining the spotlight on kids when they achieve a goal can boost their confidence, inspire their peers, and drive greater participation.
- Share DreamBox progress data with your students
Log on to your Insight Dashboard regularly to look at individual and classroom data, and start framing conversations around that. Again, you could share this data in one-on one sessions or you could talk about it together as a classroom—maybe in a weekly team huddle. Giving your students a window into how DreamBox tracks their progress can help them to feel more vested in their learning. It may also motivate them to keep closer tabs on their own progress and growth, and really challenge themselves.
- Create and display visuals in your classroom to showcase the team’s progress
Posting goal charts and other visuals in your classroom that display progress is a great way for students to visualize their growth and see how their personal goals align with larger classroom goals. For example, one DreamBox teacher created a race track on her classroom wall that went all the way around the room. Every time students completed a certain number of lessons they got to move the car with their name on it further along the race track toward the finish line. It helped keep everybody excited, engaged, and focused on a common goal. If you’re looking for more ideas for tracking progress in your classroom, there’s no shortage of clever charts on Pinterest.
We’ll be updating the leaderboard weekly and emailing you links on Thursdays, so be sure to check your inboxes to see where your classroom is in the standings. You can also track progress through your Insights Dashboard. Watch the kick –off webinar for tips on how to find your classroom ranking.
In the meantime, get your game on, and best of luck to you and your students! Please feel free to share pictures of your Math Challenge activities throughout the coming weeks with us on Twitter @DreamBox_Learn #DBLChallenge. Have fun everybody!