Reflection: Connection to Prior Knowledge Fractions Make a Come Back - Section 1: Do Now


This school year I decided to reverse my 1st and 2nd units. Rather than starting out the year with Integer operations, I began the year with rational number operations, focusing on positive numbers only. I made this decision after recognizing students’ struggles year after year in terms of their mastery of operations with fractions and decimals. The struggle to pace your class appropriately without feeling pressure from state testing is something I’m sure many teachers feel across the country. The change to common core most likely adds to this pressure, despite the fact that one of the shifts expects us to take our time building these important blocks. However, I am sure many teachers can also agree that the building blocks did not become “strong” from one year to the next simply because our states have adopted CCSS. This means we are continuing to see gaps in students’ conceptual understanding and fluency in skills. Despite the fact that I fell behind my network in terms of pacing at the beginning of the year, I have seen now that it has paid off to review these topics before moving into algebraic concepts.

On the first day of school I gave students a diagnostic to complete for homework. This allowed me to spend more time on routines, expectations, and big goals during class. More on these routines is included in the reflection attached to the “Intro to Teacher and Game” section of this lesson [link].

You'll notice within this unit that my review of fractions spanned over three days. In this first lesson I review concepts visually during the do now, fraction/decimal addition and subtraction algorithms in the notes section, and then dive right into word problems for the task. All of this happened in under an hour last year because our math periods were shorter. This year, my periods last 90 minutes each. Thus, the biggest difference to my pacing calendar has been the amount of time I spent reviewing concepts and skills at the beginning (19 days). I was able to take my time to review and build confidence around these topics with my students before starting new topics with integers and negative rational numbers. Essentially, I spent the entire 1st unit reviewing 6th grade topics dealing with fractions and decimals, and boy has it paid off! Their confidence and mastery is so much higher at this time of year than I have observed in past years. Because they are able to perform operations with fractions and decimals more fluidly, they are able to focus on developing algebraic concepts around integers and other rational numbers on the number line.

Some of the the new materials I created are included in this reflection. It has not been easy to balance my anxiety feelings about moving slowly into 7th grade standards (in comparison to past years) with my understanding that students NEED more time to review important topics. But I am entirely convinced now that this is the right way to begin.

  Connection to Prior Knowledge: The Need for More Extensive Review
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Fractions Make a Come Back

Unit 2: Operations with Rational Numbers
Lesson 1 of 19

Objective: SWBAT add and subtract fractions and decimals by working in pairs (no borrowing in subtraction).

Big Idea: Students complete unit tests ans work in pairs to review fractions addition and subtraction.

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13 teachers like this lesson
Math, problem solving, operations with rational numbers
  51 minutes
day 20 fractions
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