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Convince Me Posters and Bulletin Board

This year, I am having a terrible time getting my posters to stay on the wall.  Every day, I play the “let’s see how many posters fell down overnight” game.  #sofun

This summer, I made a set of Convince Me posters.  They started out hanging under my dry erase board.  But, every day, I would come in and find this:  

convince me posters - high school math classroom decorations

I took them down and added more packing tape.  They still fell down!  Finally, I decided to take one of my empty bulletin boards and staple them up.

convince me posters - high school math classroom decorations

I accidentally stapled the N’s upside down.  But, it would be too much of a hassle to take them all down and fix it.  So, I’m living with it.  For now.

Students often question me about the way I run my classroom.  Why do we have to show all of our work?  What if I can do it all in my head?  That’s great.  But, I need you to show me what that head of yours is thinking.  Convince me that you know what you’re doing and didn’t just accidentally get it right.  Or, they ask me why I gave them a “Not Yet.”  Because you haven’t convinced me that you know how to do these problems yet.

They are always frustrated with this response, but I’m not giving up.  I think this is the first time many of my students have been asked to practice to mastery.  They are used to being allowed to move on without mastering the content.  That’s not going to help them pass their Algebra 1 EOI.  That’s not going to help them graduate from high school.  That’s not going to help them learn math.  

I probably should have put that last reason first, but it’s the reason that means the least to my students.  I can’t convince them (yet) that math is important.  But, most will agree that graduating is something they want to do.  Though, there are always the few who tell me that a high school diploma isn’t necessary.  I really haven’t figured out how to show students that.  No matter what I say, they always seem to know someone who has excelled despite having a diploma.  

Free Download of Convince Me Posters


Convince Me Posters (PDF) (308 downloads)


Convince Me Posters (Editable Publisher File ZIP) (179 downloads)

Want more posters to decorate your classroom? Check out my posters page!

Adelaide

Wednesday 16th of November 2022

I love the phrasing of "convince me" instead of just asking them "why?" or "how do you know?" It seems like in math classrooms especially, students see the teacher as the ultimate source of knowledge. I think asking them to convince the teacher that something is true could give them more confidence in their ability to work more independently and self-assess the quality of their own work. Do you typically ask them to convince you as a teacher? Or do you encourage them to share their arguments with other students as well? Maybe learning how to critique other students' arguments could help them see why it's necessary to have a strong argument of their own

Anonymous

Thursday 3rd of December 2015

I am currently senior at the University of Illinois studying to become a math teacher. I love how you have turned mastering the material into ‘Convince me!” I am curious though how do you keep students motivated to keep trying when you write back to them “not yet”?

Sarah Carter (@mathequalslove)

Thursday 3rd of December 2015

Many students want to demonstrate mastery. Students who have not been successful with math in the past want to be successful. They love the chance to try again. There are a few who become discouraged and give up. It is sad to see, but these are likely the same students who would also give up with a traditional grading system.

Nancy in Indiana

Tuesday 22nd of September 2015

I second the Command strips recommendation.

Sarah Carter (@mathequalslove)

Monday 5th of October 2015

Thanks, Nancy!

Unknown

Tuesday 22nd of September 2015

The best thing that I've found that sticks to my cinder block is Command strips. I bought a huge 48-pack of poster hanging strips for $7 off of Amazon.

Sarah Carter (@mathequalslove)

Monday 5th of October 2015

Awesome! Thanks!

Kathryn

Tuesday 22nd of September 2015

I did well with stikki clips in my old classroom with cinderblock. They are reusable again and again, so after the initial investment you'll get many years out of them.

Sarah Carter (@mathequalslove)

Monday 5th of October 2015

Oooh. I've never heard of these before. Must investigate!