Thanks to a light dusting of snow this morning, I got to sleep in a bit! Love two-hour school delays! 🙂 I had time to get a gym session in before heading to school — I ended up being very glad for the calories I burned when I opened the lunch my hubby had prepared for me (thoughtful, huh?) and saw it included two packs of Fun Dip and a sucker. Definitely a sign that I need to go grocery shopping!
With all the school we have missed over the last two months, the classes I co-teach in have been focusing on getting caught up and back on track with our yearly pacing guides; therefore, I haven’t done nearly as much remediation in math and have mostly just helped give extra support to the students in class. Now that we are back on track I am back doing remediation of old topics. We’re currently reviewing fractions and I’ve come up with a few fun ways to engage the students in fraction practice.
1. Simplify fractions with playing cards.
For this activity, I had the students get with a partner and each place a pencil longways on their desk. Each set of partners had a deck of cards (you could use a half-deck or a smaller amount of cards if you need it to be divided amongst several students.) The partners would take turns drawing two cards. I instructed them to put the larger card on the bottom (Ace = 1, Jack = 11, Queen = 12, King = 14, Joker = wild) and the smaller one on top. They then used an Expo Marker ((see from this post—it wipes right off!)) to simplify the fraction. If it was not possible to simplify, they just re-wrote the fraction. The partners had to check one another’s work before they could draw two more cards and create new fractions.
1. Have them put the first card they draw on top and the second card on bottom regardless of which is bigger. This may result in an improper fraction, which they can change to a mixed number.
2. Turn it into a game. When partners check one another, the students keep their cards if they simplified correctly. If one partner catches a mistake the other made, that partner gets to keep the cards. At the end of the deck, whomever has the most cards wins.
3. Change the values of the face cards. This is an easy way to differentiate instruction for learners at different levels. For a struggling group, face cards can be eliminated or simply assigned numbers under 10. For an advanced group, face cards can be assigned higher number with more multiples (24, 30, etc) to give the students an extra challenge.
4. Add operations! You can do this activity with the various operations (add, subtract, multiply, and divide) and students can show their work using the dry erase marker. See photo below for clarification!
Even simpler than playing cards are dominoes! They come as fractions so it’s easy for the students to visualize the fractions. My students really loved getting to use dominoes and, of course, getting to work out problems on their desks. Ways you can incorporates dominoes include:
You can have the students put the smaller number on the top if you don’t want improper fractions or you can have them just flip the domino and if it is improper, simplify it to a mixed number.
You may want to encourage students to set up their dominoes to make simplifying easier. For example, with adding and subtracting try to find either the same denominator or ones where they can easily find a common denominator. For multiplication, encourage them to try to find “shortcuts” that help them.
The bottom line is, get creative! I have found students are WAY more willing to work if they can use manipulatives or get to try something they normally don’t get to do. These activities keep them engaged, help them practice, and are way more exciting than just another worksheet. Try something new! 🙂
Past Teacher Tuesdays
Today’s outfit was includes some bright bold colors to contrast all this snow! Details and links to available pieces on wear page.
Tights: J. Crew
Necklace: Lia Sophia