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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Teaching Long Division

I'm popping in today to share some long division activities and anchor charts that have been sitting  since December just waiting to be posted. :)  Time slips away, doesn't it?

We started out our division unit by making this little chart in our notebooks.  We needed a quick way to review division and get into the division mindset!  This is a picture of my teacher notebook that I projected using the document camera while the students made their own version in their notebooks.

We spent several days working on basic division and making sure they were solid on that.  I also spent copious amounts of time talking about how multiplication relates to division... they needed that frame of mind to get ready for long division.  Oh, long division.  It's a doozy, that's for sure!

Here is a peek at my teacher notebook (again, I create it with them as they take notes in their notebooks.  I didn't pull out any fun foldables for this one because it is such a tough concept I wanted them really focusing on the concept.  You can also see the anchor chart I made to replicate the notebook page.  This hangs in the classroom for reference.

 We spent as much time as we possibly could on division, primarily working in math workshop groups so that I could work on reteaching and enriching in small groups.  I usually have three stations for my math workshop model: Task Cards and/or Games, Independent Work, and Meet With Teacher. We did two really fun activities during independent work... the students BEGGED to keep working on that station time and time again!  The first one we worked on was my Movie Marathon Division Project.  This one gives them so much division practice that is all real-world and incredibly engaging, if I do say so myself.  In the past, I have also sent this home as an at-home project or used it as an assessment.

...and yes, popcorn is the perfect snack to munch on while they are working on this project! 

The other independent work project we did was actually slightly different than what is pictured here because we did it with a Christmas Tree!  Since I am so late getting this posted, I wanted to adapt it so that it could be used any time of year, and so the Division House was born!

As much as I loved how all of their trees turned out in the Christmas version, I love the house version even more!  Some students may need a little bit of help getting started or building their equations, but overall, most students could complete this division activity by themselves.

During Meet with Teacher and the Task Card Station, we used several of the resources from my Long Division Resource Bundle.   You can check that out HERE. Their favorite from the Task Card station was the Write & Solve Task Cards!  They are given two numbers and then a theme and they have to write their own division word problem.  It was so much fun to see what they came up with.  :) 

After we were pretty solid on long division, I introduced the concept of interpreting remainders.  While they had been working with remainders, we really hadn't required them to think critically about what the remainders represented, particularly in word problems.  We made a foldable with examples of what you might do with the remainders.  Each tab has a word problem example under the flap.


I have set up the template to be printed double sided.  If you don't have that option, just print both pages and glue the examples in. 

Also in our math notebooks, we worked through some of my interpreting remainders task cards.  I didn't end up putting these in a center because I really wanted to hear their thinking about remainders.  We did several in Meet With Teacher and several as exit tickets (I just print them out for each student and they glue them to paper then turn them in).

Our unit ended like most do... with an assessment!  In the past, I have also used the Movie Marathon project as an assessment, but with standards-based grading, we need so much evidence.  Here is a free long division assessment (you can also use it as review or just as printable practice) that I created!

Happy teaching!  If you have any other long division activities or ideas, please feel free to share them!  It seems I can never get enough. 

Monday, January 18, 2016

The ULTIMATE List of Fraction Activities

Hi There!  I don't know about you, but we are knee deep in our study of fractions.  There is so much to learn and so little time to learn it all!  I have posted several times about different activities we have done, particularly around fraction operations, but this time the focus is ALL on fraction concepts!  There are so many basic concepts we have to cover: simplifying fractions, finding equivalent fractions, working with fractions on a number line, comparing fractions, improper fractions and mixed numbers, etc.  SO MUCH!  Below, you will find some of the best fraction activities, freebies, and resources from my classroom and from teachers around the country.  It's a long post, but it's worth it! :)   Happy planning!

As always, we have an anchor chart for our fraction unit.  Before you look at this and panic about the amount of information on it, this anchor chart is intended to be filled out over the course of several weeks as you teach each of the concepts.  I started with just the template and then filled in each box as they learned about it.  DO NOT make this entire anchor chart in one day! :)  It is a great reference chart to leave hanging in the room for the rest of the year without taking up too much wall real estate.

Fractions Anchor Chart

I also created this foldie to go into my students' interactive notebook.  Again, we put notes in here as we went through the unit.  I absolutely love these notebooks so that they can easily access their notes and concepts when they need little reminders.  I don't know what I would do without interactive notebooks!

Our math block is split this year, with an hour before lunch, and twenty minutes after lunch.  During that last twenty minutes, we usually finish our last math rotation and complete an exit ticket.  I have created exit tickets for all of the concepts above.  You can also use them as proof or independent work in your notebooks!

Now, here is my favorite part of my fractions unit, simply because it is so nice and organized and once it's done, one section of my math workshop is DONE for the entire unit!  My Fractions Task Cards are, in my opinion, the perfect station for student practice.  I have it all organized and ready to go so that students can easily access the cards, recording sheets, and answer keys.  I can easily grab them to work with small groups, or in whole class if needed.  

Fractions Task Cards

Here is a look at a notebook entry we did for equivalent fractions.  This is such a huge skill for kids, and it seems that once they get it, they really just GET it!  We used pattern block manipulatives for this journal entry.  This is a picture of my notebook page where I traced the blocks, but I used an Ellison Die Cut machine to cut out paper versions of the pattern blocks for them to manipulate and actually glue into their notebooks.  It was quite the arm workout cutting all those manipualtives out! :)  

We started by defining equivalent fractions.  I explained to them that the yellow hexagon had a value of one.  Then I asked them to make hexagons out of all of their other shapes and figured out the value of each shape.  We concluded that any time your numerator and denominator are the same, the value of the fraction is one whole.  This was a GREAT visual way for them to see this.  They also saw that these were all equivalent, or equal fractions.  We then moved on to the trapezoid and I had them use triangles to make an equivalent fraction.  Then, you can see where I wrote down the two fractions and asked them what we did to the first fraction to get to the second fraction.  They did a GREAT job drawing conclusions!  This was all teacher-led, but when we were done, they did a PHENOMENAL job applying their skills using my Equivalent Fractions Task Cards.  We played a game of Task Card BINGO with the cards.  So fun!

Here is a picture of our Bingo Game Boards.  You can use them with ANY set of task cards!

Another way that I always have my students visualize equivalent fractions is with Fraction Fringe!  These are die cuts from Elison and they are such an AMAZING resource!  I have used them for years and they are such a valuable visual for kids. 

I absolutely love this anchor chart from Tessa at Tales from Outside the Classroom.  It is all about drawing conclusions, and I love that you can tell she made it with her students and really discussed the WHY behind each one of these statements.

Simplifying fractions, though it's not a standard in my grade, is, in my opinion, a critical skill that students learn, so we always cover it.  One of their favorite activities of the fraction unit is this Scrumptiously Simplified Fractions activity!  We use M&Ms (you can use Skittles, too) and go to town with simplifying!  

Simplifying Fractions Activity

I like how Stephanie from Teaching in Room 6 explains simplifying in the easiest way possible.  Teaching students to find Greatest Common Factors when Simplifying Fractions is KEY in eliminating the frustration that so many students face with this concept.  She takes you through it step by step...

Blair Turner from One Lesson at Time does a great job explaining how to use Cuissinaire Rods (AND Pattern Blocks) to teach fractions.  She even provides free printables for implementing her ideas.  Love!

Another item that I always prep ahead of my unit is my Fractions Math Project.  I  make several different packets that include different pages based on the abilities of my students.  I use these packets in my workshop model, for early finishers, and as homework.  The project covers SO many concepts that it is great to have a packet of highly engaging activities for my students to complete. 

This idea from Curious Firsties is SO clever!  She has students create a piece of a fraction museum, and then they all go through the museum and complete the activity.  So much fun! 

Now, if you're students have finally come off of their sugar high from the M&M Simplifying Fractions Activity, it's time to throw some Skittles into the mix. :)  This page comes from my Skittles Math packet, and the bottom actually has a lot of equivalent fraction work, so this one always makes an appearance during whole-group work time!

It is so important for students to be able to justify their thinking, and Meg from The Teacher Studio has so many wonderful fraction lessons for really getting kids to think critically about fractions.  I love this idea, and how she has them try to convince other students why they should be on the Yes or No team!

At the end of our unit, I always give a mini assessment to my students.  Here is my fraction assessment that I'll be using.  You can use it for an assessment, review, or printables for your unit.

I love how Greg from  Mr. Elementary Math does an excellent job of helping students visualize fraction concepts.  He has solid ideas for teaching fractions on number lines and the printables you see here are FREE! 

If you are still in the early stages of your fraction introduction, be sure to check out Ashleigh's Hands-On Fraction Booklets!  She has a free fraction booklet that has so many wonderful activities in it.  Perfection!

As soon as I saw this amazing fraction project, I KNEW I had to add it to my list of plans this year!  Tara from Fourth Grade Frolics has SUCH a good idea with this one.

Games4Gains is one of my go-to gals for games for math workshop!  I love her spoons idea for teaching equivalent fractions.  So much fun and low prep, too!

I have seen a lot of different versions of this visual fraction number lines, and I think they are critical for students!  It is so kinesthetic and so visual.  There is no original source link for this image, so if you know the source, please let me know.

Here is yet another wonderful model for comparing and ordering fractions. Visual models are so important, and I feel that it's incredibly important for students to be able to generate their own visual models as well.  Source HERE.

I truly feel like I could post twenty more ideas to this blog post and it STILL wouldn't give credit to all the amazing ideas out there!  If you are looking for even more, stop by my Fractions Pinterest Board for loads of ideas.  I hope you have found some helpful ideas here! 

If you are looking for ideas on Fraction OPERATIONS, check out some of my older blog posts, too!