Beware of Tall Grass

Ah, math. It was always my least favorite subject in school. No matter the grade, no matter the equation, I always loathed it. Ironically enough I now teach math to 60 different students every weekday. The tables have certainly turned and math has become one of my favorite subjects. It’s funny how things turn out that way. One day you’re a student struggling to comprehend a concept and the next you’re a teacher whose role is to explain it.

Today was Friday and that means a lot to students. It’s the last day before Spring Break, the last day before the weekend, but it’s also Random Encounter Friday. R.E.F is a way of reviewing past lessons and current curriculum with some added flair. My students can’t get enough.

R.E.F is optional of course. I have students who want to “battle” the problems and each other put their names in a fuzzy Domo hat and I pick them out. Their are seven rounds, each featuring a different problem and two new participants. If you win your round you get bonus XP (maybe three or four) and if you lose you still gain an XP point for putting up a good fight. If neither students gets it right I call on the crowd, who are also working the problem.

Math equations are the most popular because they can last a while and give students a good challenge. For example – today one of the questions was finding the area of triangle. Many of my students forget that one has to halve the base number before solving (or the final number, if you like), so it was a great review. All the students enjoy it throughly, especially because of the exciting music that plays when battles begin. Usually I go with original Pokemon Red/Blue battle music, but today I went with some Final Fantasy 7 tunes. One student exclaimed, “This music is so epic! I feel like I could take on anyone right now.”

I’m not the only one who is having success with Random Encounter Friday. Fellow teacher Morrigan wrote me this.

Hi there – I teach a period of 6-8th mild/moderate disabilities special ed class for reading intervention and we’re doing a version of this that I’ve tweaked for our class right now! Random Encounter Friday has turned into a great review strategy – the students earn attack opportunities by answering questions correctly. They unlock achievements by doing things in their other classes – keeping their grades up, completing special assignments, having no missing work. I have one student who is emotionally disturbed and he will do just about anything to keep it together in his classes so he can earn achievements in my class. Thank you for the idea!

I’m honored that ClassRealm is having an effect on students I don’t even come in contact with. It’s a tremendously good feeling. Give R.E.F a try and see how your students react. You may not have XP to give, but you’ll find that many students just want a fun way to review.

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