Or, How To Make Your Math Department Love You.

Numbers are so useful, yet so boring to teach. One thing that I have been using in all my classes throughout this year is a Matedictado, or Math Dictation. I originally got the idea from Ben Slavic’s blog (the source of many great CI ideas!), but have put my own little spin on it.

First, students have to practice the numbers. If they haven’t worked with higher numbers before, I like to drill them using Martina Bex’s Final Countdown Brain Break: I say “uno,” the next person stands up and says “dos,” and we see how high we can get without two people standing up at once or messing up the pattern. We get to do higher numbers if I start with a different number, forcing them to count by threes, fives, tens, or hundreds. Another way to practice numbers are to include them as details in stories. Some teachers use a Sesame Street-style Number of the Week for this purpose.

For the Matedictado itself, I teach operations vocabulary for plus, minus, or multiplied by, give five or ten problems. Students have to correctly hear and write down the two numbers for the problem, then solve it. Students get to hear the numbers again when they trade papers for grading.

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