Homework: Goals and Structure

Recent Homework assignments:  (mostly available as Word documents)

HW#1       HW#2         HW#3     HW#4     HW#5      HW#6   HW#7   HW#8

Solution Keys:  HW_keys#1to#8

What are our main goals in assigning homework?

  1. Provide thoughtful practice, not drill. Hopefully in an independent setting, without help, so we can see how the learning is going.
  2. To allow for long periods of time (weeks) to repeat the visual representation of important topics. We only do one problem or two per topic. Fractions, multiplication, division, decimals. Here we withhold the algorithm for weeks, until the concept is internalized.

A few notes on our HW problems: Continue reading Homework: Goals and Structure

Experimenting with 3-act Activities

We’ve heard so much about 3-Act activities. Here’s this week’s experiment, with our verdict at the end.

Day 1…

Does $1 million fit in a briefcase?

Show this GIF:

Episode 15 Money GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Ask… “Would $1 million fit into a normal briefcase, and if so, could an average adult carry it? Assume the bills are all 100s.

When students asked for more info, we looked up the following  (on the internet):

Continue reading Experimenting with 3-act Activities

Part 2 of “What Does Remediation Look Like?” Michael’s silence. Plus Exploding Dots.

In our last blog, we asked, “How do we humans react to confusion and difficulty?”

  • Amelia claims grumpily “I don’t get the multiply and divide by 10 thing.” She tends to get grumpy when confused.
  • Michael withdraws into silence. “Shall we get the blocks for this, Michael?” Silence. “Which part is confusing?” Silence. Sigh.
  • Tomas minimizes his struggles. “I’m fine now. I was just confused on yesterday’s quiz. I’m good now.”
  • Nicole writes notes to us on her quiz. “I need more instruction in this concept. It makes no sense at all.”

Continue reading Part 2 of “What Does Remediation Look Like?” Michael’s silence. Plus Exploding Dots.

What Does Remediation Look Like? Aka “Bring Your Knitting”

How do we humans react to confusion and difficulty?

  • Amelia claims grumpily “I don’t get the multiply and divide by 10 thing.” She tends to get grumpy when confused.
  • Tomas minimizes his struggles. “I’m fine now. I was just confused on yesterday’s quiz. I’m good now.”
  • Nicole writes notes to us on her quiz. “I need more instruction in this concept. It makes no sense at all.”
  • Michael withdraws into silence. “Shall we get the blocks for this, Michael?” Silence. “Which part is confusing?” Silence. Sigh.

Welcome to what might be the hardest job in the world to do well.

Continue reading What Does Remediation Look Like? Aka “Bring Your Knitting”

Looking at Quizzes- Part 1 … How are we doing?

Quiz #1 as a Word Document:

 

Question 1, Fractions.  It’s Payoff Time! 

We’ve been having students draw  fractions only for weeks now. Weeks! We are gradually increasing the difficulty of the questions, to cover addition, subtraction and multiplication of fractions. We assign about 1 problem a day.  And… drumroll…90% got this problem right now. It involves multiplication and borrowing! Neither of which we’ve taught. We’ve just given students the tools to make sense of fractions. Continue reading Looking at Quizzes- Part 1 … How are we doing?

Group and Independent Practice: Multiplying and Dividing with Powers of Ten

Activity #1: Moving digit cards

There was still confusion after the activity described in our last blog. Normal, but corrigible! We had students draw a Place Value Chart on an 11 x 17 piece of paper. Something like this: Continue reading Group and Independent Practice: Multiplying and Dividing with Powers of Ten

Starting the Multiplication Unit

We believe there are 3 non-negotiable skills for fifth graders moving on to sixth grade:

  • Fractions
  • Multiplication
  • Division

Accordingly, we spend more time on these 3 units than most schools do, although we work in a handful of additional topics as well. The payoff comes later —  middle school (and high school!) teachers don’t have to reteach these topics. A goal in itself! Continue reading Starting the Multiplication Unit