More Math Fun with Animal Magnets!

Several of my students like animals so when I saw various animal magnets at a yard sale, I grabbed them! The animal magnets not only motivated learning but they were successful for learning addition and subtraction! I started the lesson by creating an addition equation (see first picture below). Each student then took a turn afterwards and created a simple one digit addition or a subtraction equation. 

To make the lesson more engaging and fun, we made animal sounds from the magnets we chose and identified the animals. 

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Journal/Article: Motivating the Unmotivated

After over 10 years of teaching, I witnessed those around me in the schools I have worked in become unmotivated. I was motivated and enthusiastic to see change and whether that change is small or big, I was hoping it would occur. I wrote what you see below and had it shared anonymously with the school staff. I was hoping to make a difference and inspire through the power of words and continue to be hopeful. Through words and writing, I truly believe positive outcomes will occur.

                                    Motivating The Unmotivated                                                

                                        (Based on a true story)

As a teacher who has been in a handful of schools, I have witnessed other teachers who were once motivated become unmotivated over time. This could be happening in your school. They were not particularly older or younger or have taught many years. They could be second year teachers or have taught more than 10 years. I thought long and hard about this for a couple of years and have come up with a reasonable conclusion. Why do I care? I strongly believe EACH educator can make a difference in the life of a child and in a school and also believe that ALL educators can make a bigger difference if everyone is involved. A good school has motivated teachers in all of its’ classrooms. The best school has motivated teachers who work together to create the best learning environment. Motivation is vital and it is a necessity for the “unappreciated” job we call teaching.

The big question is, “How can teachers stay motivated when there are many factors that make teaching challenging?” There is no anecdote, recipe or criteria. Teachers all have several things in common! Those who become teachers want to make a difference and care about children and their future. They want to have a rewarding and fulfilling job. Unfortunately, the reality of teaching does not match these expectations. There are high expectations for teachers from the district, mandated curriculum, big class sizes, standardized testing and scores to maintain, behavior issues, lack of family involvement and school politics can make teaching more stressful than fulfilling. Often, teachers are not trained for what they really face in the classroom and in their school.

Let’s face it! MOTIVATION is all up to YOU! It happens inside that room in a school we call CLASSROOM:

-YOU set the tone, YOU take ownership, and YOU take responsibility.

-YOU make a difference, YOU see progress in your students

-YOU ignite the fire, YOU make students smile, YOU are the reason they have good memories

-YOU are the reason their families appreciate you even though they don’t show it sometimes

-YOU are willing to seek ways to ensure that all students are learning

-YOU create goals for yourself and for your students

-YOU are open to new ideas

-YOU are working with the students, not against them

-YOU are flexible, YOU are open-minded and welcome change

-YOU are a role model to not only your students but to your colleagues

-YOU influence the culture in a school

-YOU become the influence

 It starts with you. You are the domino that makes it happen! When one becomes unmotivated, others are affected. When there are a few in a school who are unmotivated, that few become “several”, that several becomes “most.” Teachers are leaders and leaders lead. Support in schools from other colleagues and administration is important to sustain motivation.

Inspirational Quotes:

I think the teaching profession contributes more to the future of our society than any other single profession. By: John Wooden

Most of us end up with no more than five or six people who remember us. Teachers have thousands of people who remember them for the rest of their lives. By: Andy Rooney

To this end the greatest asset of a school is the personality of the teacher.

By: John Strachan

Written by: Mary Tran