To begin this lesson, students do a math warm up based on their understanding and knowledge of fractions by sharing with the partners some quick drawings and diagrams on their whiteboards. I provide a prompt to the students, "If you were going to teach your partner about fractions, what is the most important thing you think they should know? Please teach that information to them now."
After about 3 minutes, I have the partners switch and the other student teach a different diagram or number line to their partner.
At the end of the warm-up, students share what they discuss with the whole group. I chose this activity so that I did not teach the problems on the assessment, and the students still have an opportunity to review concepts with their partners.
My math assessments are not timed, and students are given as much time as they need to complete the test. I want them to show me mastery of the standards and demonstrate their understanding and thinking rather than rushing through an assessment based on time constraint. This assessment includes identification of diagrams showing equal parts, analyzing and explaining a diagram that shows equal fourths, creating diagrams to show given fractions, identifying and explaining numerator and denominator, analyzing and explaining a shape for equal fractions, and ordering fractions on a number line.
Because the Common Core assessment for my state, PARCC, will include questions with multiple correct answers and written explanations, I include these types of questions on this assessment. A few of my students receive accommodations for writing, and they provide the information verbally to me in accordance with their learning plans.
Throughout our fraction unit, the students use fraction bars to compare and order fractions. I allow my students to use these manipulatives and tools during the assessment as a resource to demonstrate their mastery of the standard and engage in problem solving. The students are more likely to guess if they do not have the manipulative to use.
After all papers are turned in, I ask the students to self-reflect on this test and their individual performance. Through a group discussion, I ask the students to show thumbs up if they felt confident in their performance on the test. I ask for the students to show their thumbs sideways, if they had some questions they were not certain about. I choose not to use thumbs down in my class because I don't want to foster a negative attitude especially about their performance as a mathematician.
The students results on the assessment were much higher than I initially expected they would do at the beginning of this unit. All of my students scored 70% or higher, and more than 80% of my students scored 85% or higher on this assessment.