Students enter silently and find another sprint on their desks. This assessment includes 25 questions to be completed in 1.5 minutes. The first 10 questions are fraction/decimal conversions and the remaining 15 questions are multiplication facts using positive and negative integers. Students who raise their hand to indicate they’re finished will have their paper collected for scoring. Students who answer all problems correctly earn three achievement points. Answers are reviewed as a class.
Fluency is an important aspect to the new Common Core curriculum and it is important to practice with assignments like this to improve flexibility and efficiency with number operations. This does not mean that I expect all students to be able to perform tasks like this in the prescribed amount of time. I make sure to let students know this before reviewing the answers. While the speed with which these problems are completed should increase over time, "fast" doesn't necessarily make you "better". Accuracy is more important than speed.
Students are asked to log onto khanacademy.org and complete the recommended problems such as “Rational Number Word Problems”. These exercises include questions with percent conversions to decimals. Students who do not know how to turn percents into decimals, must view and complete the exercise for this isolated skill ("Converting percents to decimals). Khan Academy makes it easy to recommend skills to whole classes or smaller groups of kids. I select individual groups who need practice and assign the following additional exercises:
I am selecting these skills based on exit tickets, quizzes and past tests' data. About half of my students continue to struggle with multi-step rational number operations. These students received up to 3 assignments including problems with fractions and decimals. The first two assignments involved operations with two rational numbers only. The third was an order of operations assignment involving multiple operations and values in number sentences. Notice that these exercises include percentages. Because of the order of my units this year, I provide extended help to some students who do not know how to make a percent into a decimal. These lagging skills are important at this point so that that I can prepare my percent unit with these misconceptions in mind.
Students are given 20 minutes to complete these tasks on the website and then are asked to shut down their computers. They are given the homework and reminded to study for their unit test tomorrow.