I am participating in Exploring the MathTwitterBlogosphere for the next 8 weeks. Here is a description if you are not familiar.
I am posting on what makes my classroom unique. One small thing which makes my classroom unique is my version of hangman. Anytime I am writing on the board in class and make a mistake I start a hangman. Head, body, 2 legs, 2 arms only. This includes any small mistakes like leaving off a digit because I am thinking about an engaging question to ask when I’m done with a boring algebra step!
- A student must point out the mistake before I correct it.
- Each mistake is worth 1 body part.
- The students have a full week to hang “me” before the hangman gets reset.
- If they hang me, everyone in the class gets a bonus point on their next test.
You would be surprised how much students enjoy this little game. They love to point out when I make a mistake. (It also gives me an opportunity to discuss how making mistakes is okay. Everyone does it!) They really love to yell out loud that they are hanging me. I just hope the person walking by is not worried about my safety because there are shouts about “me” being close to death (shouting is directly related to number of body parts on the board). It also makes them pay attention to details and shows them if you make a small mistake it can throw off everything.
I never talk about this game until someone corrects me for the first time. Then I just casually mention that I play this game. Everyone perks up. It’s amazing to see a Friday, last block class hang on to everything I put on the board when I’m on my last body part for the week.
Let’s be honest, 10 years down the road kids will not remember all the math you taught them but they will remember that Friday they argued for 5 minutes about whether or not they deserve the final arm. And then how the class broke into applause when I finally drew a full hangman on the board.