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Reluctant Learner
Old 02-08-2018, 07:49 AM
 
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I am a retired teacher who is volunteer math tutor for a children's home. I am doing great with the 4-6 graders, motivating them with short math games, stickers, and praise. The junior high girls are doing okay. However, I have a few junior high boys who I am struggling with. They are very behind, have been "tossed around" in life, are too cool to need help, and just resent having to spend time being tutored. I have used praise and encouragement and offered choices on how we work on things. I have access to computers if there is something online that we could work through together. Does anyone have any suggestions?


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Teenage Boys Can Be Difficult to Engage
Old 02-08-2018, 09:43 AM
 
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Maybe you could write the word problems about topics they can relate to more.

They love to eat! So maybe some word problems about yummy food would be enjoyable. Maybe you could even have a cooking lesson to teach fractions and then allow them to eat what they have cooked. Half the recipe? Double the recipe?

They usually love sports so sports related problems might be better as well to get them engaged.

If you can make some problems up that are related to video games they would like that. Maybe they can even help you write the problems and then solve them.

How about the Olympics? Winter Olympics are almost here and they may be interested.

What about doing some real measuring and having them finding the center for picture hanging? Or measuring a room or two for carpet or new flooring? How to measure and order blinds for a window? How to measure a garden area and determine how many plants they need to go around the perimeter if they need to be planted X number of feet apart? I think real life problems will appeal to them more and getting up out of the desk and actually doing some measuring will be more active.

Teach them to count money and make change.

How to plan a long road trip and how many miles to drive each day. What will the gas cost?

How to buy groceries on a budget? Use the store ads to plan an economical meal.

I would make it about real life problems and issues so they can see a reason for learning the math skill.

Good luck!

Last edited by 1956BD; 02-08-2018 at 10:33 AM..
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motivating students
Old 02-08-2018, 01:10 PM
 
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Bless you! I can imagine that they probably have trust issues and learning difficulties, so tutoring them would be challenging. Maybe try Khan academy. It's a great site that can guide you and them in their Math learning. I also like the app "Photomath" It enables you/them to take a picture of a problem and then shows the student step by step how to solve the problem. If they are having problems with basic math facts, maybe try www.xtramath.com
This site will figure out exactly what they know and then guide them in reaching their goals
Another great site is www.prodigygames.com

Last edited by stella.ivey; 02-09-2018 at 05:43 AM..
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some "extrinsic" motivation
Old 02-08-2018, 02:14 PM
 
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A little bartering may help. Just let them know that if they could accomplish this much task in x amount of time, then they get to have some choice time or give them food. Growing boys love food right especially if they're not healthy. Yikes, don't listen to me.
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How much flexibility do you have?
Old 02-09-2018, 03:47 AM
 
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I don't know if something like this would work... but we tried asking our kids (the entire school) what were some of the things they would like to learn. After consolidating the answers, we developed a "lunch learning" program that addressed their wants. (One teacher described it as "They think we're giving them what they want, but we're also teaching them what they need.")

I wonder if something like this would work with your group? It sounds like these kids are great candidates for something that is "them-centered." It could really be an extension of "offering choices on how we work..."

By the way, our survey revealed the number one learning desire was "how to cook!" (That ranged from grilling a burger to becoming a chef.) "Okay, so if we're going to halve this recipe..."

Congratulations on your retirement choice and thank you for what you are doing.


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