Reflection: Connection to Prior Knowledge Fun with Four: Decomposing to Known Factors of 1, 2, and 5 - Section 2: Guided Practice


As much as I know, on a deep, intuitive level, that the CCSS approach to developing a deeper understanding is the more effective way to teach children, my years of experience (both as a learner and a teacher) in the old system sometimes cause a reflexive feeling of panic when I’m teaching lessons such as Fun with Fours.  I feel like I’m not moving the children quickly enough, and I have to fight back the urge to (almost) tell them the answers. 

Children who are learning their multiplication facts by drill/rote may, temporarily, be “ahead” of my students in their ability to produce accurate and fast answers to multiplication fact questions.  At these moments, I force myself to take a mental step back and truly look at what is going on in my classroom. 

Children are struggling productively with a conceptual understanding of what multiplication means, and then they are working their way through that moment of cognitive dissonance into a deeper understanding of and ability to explain how and why multiplication works.  It may take a little longer to develop their fact knowledge this way, but they will truly understand instead of just repeating something they memorized.  This is of great value, and I really believe the way we should be teaching. 

So, when the pressures of the old system start to call my name, I remember this, and proceed in the new way with renewed enthusiasm.  It just takes occasional courage to proceed “slowly” when the world around is rushing and preparing for tests.  I know my children will come out ahead on formal assessments as well, because they will be able to think for themselves when they encounter unexpected complexity.

  Relax! It's okay to slow down to let them develop a deeper understanding!
  Connection to Prior Knowledge: Relax! It's okay to slow down to let them develop a deeper understanding!
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Fun with Four: Decomposing to Known Factors of 1, 2, and 5

Unit 3: Multiplication
Lesson 8 of 11

Objective: Students will decompose equal group and array multiplication models into known facts (1, 2, and 5 as factors) using the associative property. Updated 7/24/15.

Big Idea: Students act as problem solvers to take an unknown fact and solve it by breaking it down into pieces that are known.

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