The thread on cutesy classrooms (yes, I am in the cute classroom camp) got me thinking about cutesy rhymes to teach skills, specifically in math. Pinterest has tons of them. My students come to me and can spout out all these cutesy rhymes such as "More on the floor, go next door. More on top, no need to stop." But they have no idea how to solve the problems. In the past, I taught the rounding rhyme, "5 or more, let it score. 5 or less, let it rest." I found that the kids could say the rhyme but couldn't apply it, so I stopped. Now I start with a rounding story and number lines and most all my kids can round. Do you use cutesy rhymes? If you do, do your students make the connection between the rhyme and the concept, and are they able to apply it?

I have several math rhymes with hand motions that I use to help reinforce tough concepts. My students understand the math reasoning behind them. Many of them are vocabulary based ( ie, difference between similar and congruent), so I do see them use the rhymes.

I had to use a song with high school kids about adding negative numbers. They just weren't going to remember any other way. They loved it and they understood it. However, kids don't always connect sayings to what they mean. I think, maybe a few cute rhymes is okay, but everything can't be one.

For rounding, I use: Find your place, Go next door. Five or greater? Add one more. All digits in front Stay the same. All digits behind, zero's your name. I use a number line to show them what we're actually doing when we round. I use the rhyme to help them remember the steps.

My 9th grade world geography teacher taught us the names (in order West-East) of all the islands of the Mediterranean Sea to tune, and I can still name them. I memorized my times tables quickly in school by singing them to the tune of a song I was learning in my piano lessons. I think music can be a powerful tool for memorization, BUT if the song is cutesy and not very self-explanatory, the child may not actually understand what they are singing about and how it translates to what they need to do. Lots of modeling and some guided practice take care of that, in my experience.

I agree that understanding the concepts that underlie the rhyme is key. I have tutored too many kids that can mimic some rhyme yet are still clueless as to when and why one should use it. However, for fact recall, songs/rhymes are awesome. We sang the presidents and the state capitals each day in my classroom.

Is it bad I still use the banana cheer to double check? LOL!! I agree some students need these devices to remember or double check themselves...

I agree that songs and rhymes have their place. I use a continent song to teach the continents and we have multiplication fact songs to practice memorizing facts. Unfortunately, as I stated before, I see so many kids come to me with rhymes who have no idea how or why to do the steps to solve the problem.