In this series, I’m compiling some of the quips and one-liners that I’ll use with my students to hopefully make my lessons more memorable for them.

I always encourage students to answer occasional questions in class; naturally, this opens the possibility that a student may suggest an answer that is completely wrong or is only partially correct. Naturally, I don’t want to discourage students from participating in class by blunting saying “You’re wrong!” So I need to have a gentle way of pointing out that the proposed answer isn’t quite right.

Thanks to a recent movie, I finally have hit on a one-liner to do this with good humor and cheer: “To quote the trolls in Frozen, I’m afraid your answer is a bit of a fixer-upper. (Laughter) So it’s a bit of a fixer-upper, but this I’m certain of… you can fix this fixer-upper up with a little bit of love.”

If you have no idea about what I’m talking about, here’s the song from the movie (you can hate me for the rest of the day while you sing this song to yourself):

I'm a Professor of Mathematics and a University Distinguished Teaching Professor at the University of North Texas. For eight years, I was co-director of Teach North Texas, UNT's program for preparing secondary teachers of mathematics and science.
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