Special Report

Teacher Tips: Keeping Kids Engaged During Online Math Class

By Madeline Will — December 02, 2020 1 min read
Image shows artistic display of a dialogue box surrounded by math, academic, and coronavirus symbols.
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Math teachers have had a new problem to solve this school year: How do you foster engagement and understanding among students when you’re often not in the room with them?

“As if mathematics weren’t complicated enough, add a pandemic to the mix, and math instruction has become infinitely more challenging,” wrote Elissa Scillieri, the principal of Apshawa Elementary School in West Milford, N.J., in an Education Week opinion blog post published in the spring.

But over the past nine months, teachers whose schools are still fully or partially remote have learned to adapt and come up with new ways to teach math online. Education Week asked teachers on Twitter to share their tips for teaching math remotely. Here’s what they said:

Stick to a routine, but don’t treat this as a normal school year.

“Plan your questions accordingly. You’ll get about 1/3 to 1/2 what you’ll normally get through. So make sure if you’re planning to review all of subtraction you pick some with regrouping once, twice, etc.”
— Stephanie Kessinger, @Stmathgirl

Have kids work offline, too.

Encourage student collaboration and small-group work.

Check in with students frequently.

“Use the chat feature. My students [can] chat with me privately if they aren’t comfortable turning on their screen and talking out loud. It has helped the quieter kids have a voice.”
— Stephanie Kessinger, @Stmathgirl

A version of this article appeared in the December 02, 2020 edition of Education Week as Teacher Tips: Keeping Kids Engaged During Online Math Class


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