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Thursday, February 5, 2015

Fractions, Fractions, Fractions!

So I am beginning a unit on fractions in my Fourth grade class.  I have been rereading Extendng Children's Mathematics by Susan B. Empson and Linda Levi.

I began my unit on Monday by posing an Equal Share problem to my kiddos.  The word problem asked them to share 7 pizzas with 6 children.  While students are working the problem, I am walking around with my clipboard(that has 3 sticky notes on it for my 3 math classes).  I quickly jot down names of students that are having a hard time with this problem.  I did this with all three classes. Later, I will make sure to have a small group lesson ready the next day for the students who struggled.  I do small group instruction 2-3 times per week.  While I am working with small groups of students, my other students are playing math games(that I have bought from TPT, computer activities,etc..Now back to my word problem lesson- While I am watching my kiddos work, I also engage conversations about the problem with students.  I usually hone in on students that are "stuck".  Its really important to question these students so that they can still come up with their own strategy for solving the problem.  After about 10 or 15 minutes into class, I let the students talk with someone close about how they solved the problem.  This leads to VERY meaningful conversations about the problem!  I love this part!  I always say to talk about how they (the student) would solve the problem, and to see what is the same and/or different about their partners strategy.  The students already have a sound understanding of this whole process, because I strategically start this at the beginning of the year.  My students are very accustomed to listen and/or watch other students share their strategy.  We then share about 3-4 strategies.  Sometimes I let the sharer(the student showing their strategies) talk about all of the steps they took to get to the answer, but sometimes I question other students to see if they can figure the strategy out.  I also allow time for other students to question the sharer.  Here are a couple of my students' work:




So now here is the ultimate question... How do you teach fractions?

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