Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Multiplying and Dividing Fractions Plans

You might recall that going into this quarter, I figured out a planning routine for differentiation that I think is AWESOME applesauce! I take all of the materials I have (task cards, worksheets, etc) and place them on a continuum of difficulty. (If I need to fill in holes for lower levels or higher levels, I begin searching for resources or create my own). In addition, I outlined the quarter with FOCUS CONCEPTS (new material) and REVIEW CONCEPTS (1 day/wk).

I outlined my fractions unit {loosely} before the quarter began, and of course, things have already changed a bit. Mainly, I realized that it would be okay to push a few things to next quarter (like coordinate planes) and spend an extra week on multiplying and dividing fractions. {Keep in mind that I do not suggest only teaching fractions for 4 weeks. We already spent a large chunk of 2nd quarter on fractions--adding, subtracting, and a little intro to multiplying. Can you tell I could literally spend ALL year on fractions and be in MATH~nerd~HEAVEN?}.

I thought I was differentiated to the max already, but as I began to teach my three classes, I understood that what I had considered lower-level needed to be even more straightforward or scaffolded for one of my classes (for this group, I have went back to my old math workbooks). Now, don't get me wrong, these kiddos that I have to drop back to the worksheet for CAN get it and have done so, but I found that they need a more straightforward approach first and then they move into the task card sets. With a worksheet, they seem to get more accomplished and grow more in their confidence that they CAN solve the problems--and they know they will be moving on to task cards, which they have a positive attitude about.

Here's my fraction outline in a continuum format. The first icon will be the easiest/basic entry level, with the activities/practice work moving into increasing levels of difficulty. Also, it is important to note that some of the individual sets of task cards (like the Chili Math Multiplying Fractions) already include questions in increasing level of difficulty. This pack of task cards has 60 cards that I broke into sets. Some of the first questions are straightforward multiplying fractions problems, while some of the later task cards make students think backwards to figure out the factors that were multiplied instead of just the product. Needless to say, these cards have kept us busy busy for a week (with whole group minilessons also included at the beginning of each math class). The extension column includes materials for those students who finish the tasks above and beyond and are ready to move on to other concepts or look at the focus concept in a new way.
Based on my routine math schedule that I brainstormed before the quarter began: 

Mon-Wed: Practice with Focus Concepts (new material we are trying to master, students work through the continuum)
Thurs: 1/2 time Data Day (charting our exit slips performance and assessing on an OLD skill); 1/2 time: Algebraic Thinking Day
Friday: 1/2 time remediation on old skill (based loosely on assessment performance) and 1/2 time continued work on Focus Concept (some students may be working on extensions while others are 'secretly' being remediated, and others are completing work from the week that they understand but just need more time to work on). Some students may also use mobymax.com as a differentiated spiral review/to fill in some unmastered skills.

I will say that in getting the quarter started last week and getting to know my new students, I decided not to implement the Thursday/Friday schedule until our second week back. We will definitely have assessment/data/algebra on Thursday and Remediation/Review on Friday this week.

By the time I teach math for the third hour, I am burned out...and worried that I can't fix everyone's issues and misunderstandings. But, after having a little lunch and getting to my planning time to further differentiate and plan for the next day, I get really excited and LOVE the ability to focus on only a few subjects (I'm also teaching reading/social studies integrated into an hour and 20 minute block).
I hope your teaching life is happy, and please comment with questions as I am hoping that I am able to explain what I am doing clearly, but I am not always sure it is!

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