Students will start today's lesson with a fluency assessment. This assessment is from Monitoring Basic Skills Progress Second Edition: Basic Math Computation by Lynn S. Fuchs, Carol L. Hamlett, and Douglas Fuchs.
This is an assessment I have my students do each week and then graph their results. It allows them to reflect on their learning of basic math facts, as well as using all four operations with whole numbers, and adding and subtracting unit fractions. (It also happens to be the quietest time in my math classroom all week!!)
This is what my classroom looks like as students work on this assessment.
I do not start my students with the fourth grade skills. I chose to start them with the end of the third grade skills which covers addition, subtraction and multiplication and division of basic facts. I strongly believe in a balanced math approach, which is one reason why I also believe in common core standards. By having a balance of building conceptual understanding, application of problems, and computational fluency, students can experience rigorous mathematics. I want to make clear that this assessment ONLY measures basic math computation. It is only one piece of students' knowledge. The assessments in this book, for each grade level, do not change in difficulty over the course of the year. Therefore, a student's increase in score over the school year truly reflects improvement in the student's ability to work the math problems at that grade level.
This is a sample of a student's graph: progress monitoring. Please check out the resources to hear my thoughts about students fluency progress.
Note: Students will begin the fourth grade set in two weeks.
Students spend most of their time in this lesson practicing multi-digit multiplication using a computer game called Batter's Up Baseball in order to mast CCSS 4.NBT.5. Students work with a learning partner to play this game. This game has a timer, so students must solve the multiplication problem in an efficient and timely way. Partners take turns solving. While one person solves the problem on a whiteboard, the other student can look on and support or help their partner if needed, then that partner types their answer into the computer. Then partners switch roles. From past experience, I have found that when students need to click, write, type, and click, they are more likely to run out of time. By having partners share this responsibility, they are more successful in solving. I ask students so show their work on their whiteboards using a method of their choice we've discussed. I do allow students to use the standard algorithm for double digit by single digit problems. I also set the parameters that they should click on a double (a single digit by double digit problem) or home-run (a double digit by double digit) problem.
This is the link to the game.
Games and technology can be a very effective way of reaching students who haven't responded to conventional teaching methods. From past experience, computers and games are very motivating for students in my classroom. While this game could be an independent practice, I chose for students to play with a partner so they could practice their math talk and help each other when finding the product. I wanted this lesson as a skills practice, but didn't want a traditional paper and pencil practice. Students were assigned four double digit by double digit multiplication problems as homework, so they would still have an opportunity to practice that way as well.
For the wrap up of this lesson, I show students this video WITHOUT sound. It is a video of me computing a double digit by double digit problem incorrectly. I ask students to watch, analyze, and evaluate what mistakes the person in the video makes. This is a complex skill for fourth grade students. I ask students to show in pictures, numbers, or words, what mistakes this person made.
Many of my students were able to identify the errors. For about 8 students, this was extremely difficult. I realized that being able to identify mistakes is a complex skill, and one in which my students need more practice with. For my students that generally struggle with number sense, basic facts, and need many repetitions with skills practice, this was extremely challenging. I was reminded that for many students, this may be one of the first times a teacher has asked them to evaluate a mistake. As teachers, we often make our students mistakes the focus of our instruction. This was a great way to make my mistakes a learning opportunity for them.