Before I talk about what we did with fractions yesterday, three things are on my mind:
1. Is there really anything better than a new box of crayons? The smell, the colors, the perfectly pointy ends- it all makes me very happy! (Can you tell I’m a primary teacher? 😉 )
2. I haven’t been talking much about my pre-k and Kindergarten class! This little bunch of friends is so much fun and keep me on my toes! For someone who teaches first grade during the year, it is a big adjustment teaching pre-k, but I’m finding it a great, fun challenge! So far we’ve covered colors, shapes, and began sorting things based on those attributes. We also took time to sort by size: big or little. Here is a wall in our room with their end products- the kids had to split their paper in half and on one side draw little things, and on the other draw big things. Their pictures are very cute and most students did a fantastic job! (The best part was one small friend who said, “Ms. Tasch, look at my tornado picture! Whoooosh!” I smiled and said, “That’s wonderful, but where are your big and little pictures?” He looked slightly confused, pointed to his picture again, and simply said, “But…… whooooooosh!” 🙂
3. The other night, I had a taste for veggie pizza. We had all the ingredients at home, but no ranch seasoning! I didn’t want to run to the store to buy a pack- and those things are kind of expensive for such a small item!- so I went on Pinterest (always) and found a way to make it at home. Using seasoning we already had, I whipped up a batch and added it to the cream cheese. I tasted it…. and was shocked how good it was! Just like the package from the store- but no money spent! This is the recipe I used!
OK, with that off my mind I’m ready to focus on yesterday’s math lesson- fraction review! Since we’ve been focusing on halves and fourths, we used what we knew about those concepts and applied it to different fractions. We knew that the bottom number of the fraction told us how many pieces it was split into. So, I used our Sand Art app and drew some shapes for the students to see. Volunteers came up and split the shape into a fraction I called out.
Since they know the bottom number tells how many pieces, they can apply that to making fractions they’ve never made before. 1/8 must have 8 pieces, 1/10 must have 10, and so on.
The kids really love this app because they think it’s very cool they are using their finger to draw. It’s a very simple, but effective way to practice EQUAL PARTS and different fractions.
(P.S. Even though it isn’t pictured in this one, we did practice splitting a triangle into thirds. The triangle always seems to be the shape kids struggle with- they want to cut it horizontally and vertically, but that doesn’t produce equal pieces. Remind them whenever they are splitting shapes, all pieces need to be the same!)
After some technology practice, we moved on to practice with play-doh! We went over play-doh rules- including no play-doh in our hair, in our mouths, or on our clothes-
because someone always does one of these things even though no one would ever do any of those things 😉 and were ready to begin! The kids cracked open their jars and were ready!
I called out a shape for them to make. The students were extremely creative on making their shapes look perfect. Some used a Popsicle stick (which they had all been given with the play-doh) to cut out the shape, some formed with their hands, others used the lid to help them. Then, I’d call out the fraction to split the shape into. They used their stick to split the shape into equal pieces!
You can see the shape (square) and the fractions (fourths).
We kept going, making different shapes and cutting them into different fraction pieces.
I love teaching fractions like this because the kids are applying their knowledge! It’s also a quick assessment for me- do they understand shapes? Do they understand equal pieces? Do they understand different fractions?
I picked up Popsicle sticks from the dollar store and they worked great to help the students cut the shapes into pieces. They also doubled as “shape shapers” (totally a word) by helping the kids make the play-doh into different shapes.
Play-doh is also a great medium to practice with because mistakes can be easily fixed! When we practiced splitting a triangle in thirds, a few kids made some mistakes. But, it’s so easy to simply flip the shape over, push the play-doh back together, and try again! (Perseverance is a theme is this classroom- we never give up!)
This is what my first and second graders did to practice fractions. My next post will be about my older students making “fraction self-portraits”- a.k.a. the cutest (and most educational) fraction project you’ll ever see!
Have a fantastic weekend! 🙂