Sunday, March 1, 2015

Fraction and Decimals in my Classroom!

Our district gave us 9 weeks to teach fractions and decimals.  Seems like a long time, right? Well, we're on week 6 and EKKK we need more time!!! Before we start our next unit, I reflected back on what we've done and where we need to go. Below are some things I've done with the kiddos over the last few weeks.

Anchor Charts:

The best feeling is when you are working with a student and they say, "Wait, let me look at the chart." My students depend on these anchor charts and refer to them during math practices, small group time, and games. Sometimes I pre-create the anchor chart and we just review it in class. Sometimes, I write it as we learn and sometimes I have the students help me create it.

The students created these rules as we walked through the lesson.
The students each got a fraction and sorted them into a group.
I created this after I introduced adding and subtracting fractions.

I created and posted this before we did decimals so students started to see the correlation between the two.
Active Participation:

Having the students actively participate in every aspect of a lesson is not only good teaching, but it's a big focus in my district. We have a lot of professional development that helps us learn how to make active participation a reality in the classroom. In my latest PD, we talked about using music in the classroom.  I found some kid friendly music and sent it to my school computer (Lego Movie soundtrack, Happy by Pharrell Williams, and Taylor Swift songs).

I threw together a simple powerpoint that led the students through the lesson called "Decimal Music Match." I started by creating very simple decimal and fraction cards. I taped them under their chairs.

I used two different colors on purpose.


I made equivalent fractions and decimals using numbers in the hundredths and thousandths place. I used two different color markers on purpose.

The students were SO excited to find something under their chairs. I told them that when the music starts they need to pass the cards around to their classmates. It doesn't matter who you pass it to, you just want to pass it as many times possible. When the music stops, they need to look at the board. On the board, I had simple instructions that looked like this.






I was pleasantly surprised how well the students did with this. By the second round, they automatically looked at the board and followed the directions. It was also a great way for me to assess in the moment. I could instantly see who was engaged and who wasn't. I could see who knew how to turn a fraction into a decimal and who could compare their fraction to 1/2. I loved the conversations that students had with one another

The lesson went so well, I created "Decimal Music Match Part II." My powerpoint looked like this.






In order to do this second part, I had to create decimals on hundreds charts. I decided to make the students do the work! This started some great conversations on what decimals can look like on hundreds charts. They created some fun designs! "Decimal Music Match Part II" ended up being a great way to reinforce ideas I've already taught and to reteach students who were struggling.


Using Manipulatives:

I love using manipulatives whenever I can! During problem solving, we talk a lot about what tools are the best to use for a certain problem.  So, I've been teaching the students how to use place value blocks to see fractions and decimals.  We practice building them, starting simple and getting more complex. 

He built 0.35 and 0.25.
Once the students got confident building decimals, we pushed them together to demonstrate adding decimals. Our next step is drawing them in an addition sentence, then using the algorithm.  Starting with manipulatives gives the students the visual foundation they need. Instead of following the steps of an algorithm, they make sense of the problem before they solve it.

Reteaching and Games:

Twice a week I try to squeeze in some reteaching! In order to reteach, I need a small group of students that struggle with similar concepts. I have my students split into three small groups that I change often, based on need. During math centers, I work with one of these small groups. This week we have been focusing on "Close Reading" math problems. I thought ... we close read passages all week, why not apply the same concepts to math! 



My biggest challenge is ... what do the other students do while you are working with a small group? And, how do I make sure they are on task and working without standing behind them the whole time!?

My first thought was...FUN. The students need to be doing something FUN to be engaged and focused. So, I have one group playing math games and the other group doing a math practice in their notebooks.  I've collected games over the years and made ones along the way.  I created these fraction and decimals games to help my students practice fundamental skills. Check them out on my TPT store!

Begging for Decimals - TPT Click Here


I'm excited to see how my students preform on their unit assessment in a few weeks! 

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