Reflection: Grade Book and Data Analysis Add, subtract, and multiply decimals - Section 2: Play of the Day


If you’ve ever seen the film Man On Fire with Denzel Washington and Dakota Fanning, there is a clip in there that is one of the best metaphors for teaching.  She is a kid, and a competitive swimmer that is fast in the water but slow off the blocks.  He is her bodyguard and ends up being her unofficial coach, training her to get faster off the blocks.  He makes her do it, gives her feedback, makes her do it again, and gives her more feedback, and then repeats this about a million times.

                Learning math is sort of like that.  You do a little bit, get some feedback, do a little more, and do this over and over again.  You learn how to think, get some feedback, change your thinking a bit, and repeat multiple times.  Doing this requires a ton of feedback. 

So how do you ensure kids get a lot of feedback in a class of nearly 30 students?  This is not easy, but I try to hit this from multiple angles:

  1. I give kids the answers to everything.  Some people think I am crazy, but this leads to some really powerful feedback mechanisms.  My rule is that you can’t move onto #2 until you got the right answer to #1 – and you know why it’s the right answer.  Therefore, kids aren’t blindly making the same mistake over and over again, only to find out when you are reviewing the work, which is usually at the end of the class and too late.  Kids know right away if they are “getting” something or not, and are pushed to either figure it out on their own or ask questions of you (or others) if they are not getting the right answer.  I do this on HW and on classwork.  It pushes kids to be much more accountable, and to realize that more important than what the answer is is why the answer is (this is a poster in my classroom, by the way).
  2. I also assign formal and informal peer tutors.  This allows students to get feedback from a peer in a less public forum than asking me, and allows me to lower the ratio of student to teacher in powerful ways.
  3. I ensure an orderly classroom environment where I can work with individual kids and small groups during independent practice.
  4. I grade all tests myself, to internalize the mistakes they make, decide how best to respond, etc. – and each answer is marked correct or incorrect.


It is not easy to give all kids the amount of feedback that is ideal, but I am always striving to get better at this, and the 4 strategies above are a helpful place to start.

  Give students feedback - LOTS of it
  Grade Book and Data Analysis: Give students feedback - LOTS of it
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Add, subtract, and multiply decimals

Lesson 5 of 9

Objective: SWBAT add, subtract, and multiply decimals

Big Idea: To line it up or not line it up? That is the question... about the decimal. Beyonce and Snowmen round out the lesson.

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4 teachers like this lesson
Math, Number Sense and Operations, Algebra, Numbers and Operations, practice and fluency, decimal numbers, properties of arithmetic, practice and
  75 minutes
1 5 bl image beyonce
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