Friday, May 11, 2012

Fractions Part 1- Diagnostic Talking Picture and Anchor Charts

We have started learning about the dreaded fractions in my grade 4 math class....arrrgh! You can practically see the terror on the faces of my students. Nooooo!! Not fractions!

I don't remember being scared of fractions as a kid but I can't say that I am that excited to teach it as an adult either. I definitely didn't help that I was being evaluated during this unit....le sigh. But let's not talk about that shall we?

Except....for my evaluation I needed to show examples of how I give feedback to my students so I thought that I would try the Talking Picture strategy and the GLOW/GROW assessment again. I displayed a chart showing the objectives for our unit on fractions and decimals as well as a vocabulary list. I asked my students too use the objectives chart to draw a "talking picture" showing their knowledge of fractions (mainly) and decimals (if they could). I outlined that I wanted my students to show their knowledge using words, numbers and pictures....AND colour. Other than that anything they wanted to draw was fine with me.

For the GLOW/GROW assessment I used the amazing Jen Runde's chart and poster set. Awesome. It was a great complement to the diagnostic assessment.

The second day after completing the diagnostic task we created an anchor chart together in class.

I am pretty proud of how things are going since it is my first time teaching fractions. The majority of my class seems to be following along quite nicely and the formative assessments I have looked over show a good deal of understanding!! Yeah!!

The one thing that I did notice was that even though my students understood that the numerator indicated the parts of the fraction that were counted, eaten, shaded etc and that the denominator represented the total number of parts that the whole had been split into, they were missing the word "equal" in a lot of cases when describing the denominator. So we had a quick mini-lesson to recover this material before we moved on with our study of fractions.

I posted this picture on the document camera...without any of the green circles or X's. The students discussed with their table groups with pictures represent the fraction and why. I am was happy to hear that the students really did understand that the part of the whole had to be equal...and I made sure to specifically ask the students who had missed this vital point on their formative assessment!

I hope this is valuable and interesting for you all. I have a second post in the works involving the problem solving and math talk lesson from my class this past week. If you have any suggestions, ideas or questions please don't hesitate to comment.

6 Brilliant Teaching Thoughts:

Runde's Room said...

Thanks, Beth! WOW - I can't believe how much your students are writing on the "glow and grow" - wish mine reflected that much - I'm going to show them this! Hope you ROCKED the evaluation! Check your email - I sent you a little something ...
Have a FABULOUS weekend!

Runde's Room

Ms. K said...

I love teaching fractions! One of my favorite books is The Fair Shares book from TERC math investigations. I also love the fifth grade TERC book about fractions and decimals but I don't remember the name of it. I sort of got this idea from the fair shares book to use pattern blocks to simplify fractions Great pictures of anchor charts above :)!

Libby said...

You rocks! I like your method of teaching!

Beth said...

Thanks Jen and THANKS for the cootie catchers. I think my class will love it and I will take lost of pictures to post!

Beth said...

Ms. K, I will definitely look into those books. I am enjoying our fraction unit much more than I originally thought I would but after 7 years of only teaching language arts anything new in math still terrifies me!

Beth said...

Thanks Libby. That means a lot.

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