I have a student who cannot grasp rounding. She really can't gasp math much at all. NO retention. She is in 4th grade. At the moment, she has an F in the subject. I hate Fs. Any ideas on how to help my student with this skill? At the moment, I am thinking about sending her to a third grade class during math. She needs the reteach. Not too sure how to help her achieve the grade level standards.

I'm not in elementary, but I would avoid sending her down to 3rd grade for a couple of reasons. One, YOU are her teacher, not the 3rd grade teacher. It's your job to teach her what she needs to be done. Two, how very embarassing for the poor kid. Three, are they working on rounding at the exact same time you are? (Same day, same time of day?) If not, exactly what would this accomplish? Rounding numbers is a very cut and dried process. Perhaps you could sit with her at some point when the other kids are doing something else. As you explain the problem on the left side of the page, have her copy "Process" notes on the right. Putting the process in writing, and in her own words, may help with the retention issue.

Thanks Alice. I have been thinking on this. I think it is actually partly the previous teacher's fault for the problems. I going to work her in for individual lessons. Maybe see if she could stay after school. I was mainly looking for strategies for teaching rounding for students who are "not getting it".

What strategies have you tried with her? I give my students very specific steps to follow: 1. Underline the place you're rounding to. 2. Circle the digit immediately to the right. 3. Look at the circled digit to find out which way to round. Think "5 or above, give it a shove. 4 or below, leave it low." (They draw a little up or down arrow next to it). 4. If needed, shove the underlined digit up one. Otherwise, leave it the same. Change all the digits to the right into "round numbers" (zeros). We also use number lines at times. I've also seen numbers written going up and over a mountain--so 40 would be at the base of one side, and 50 at the base of the other. 41-44 would be written going up the side, with 45 at the top and the others coming down. Students cam imagine which number a rock put at any number would roll down to.

First, I would explain WHY we round. Second, I would pull out a number line and show her how to use it. Third, once she is comfortable using a number line and all that, I would start placing numbers on there such as 380, 390, and 400. Then I would explain to her that if I have the number 394 and I want to round it to the nearest tens place (how is she on her place values?? that could ALSO be an issue) I would show here where to place 394 and show her how 394 is closer to 390 than 380 or 400 (kids get confused when the round down and make the 9 become an 8...) Last, I would work with her on a TON of problems. Eventually, I would give her problems to work with her on her own. And, this is the process I've taught my students. Let's take 457 and we're rounding this number to the nearest tens place. 1. Circle the place we are rounding to. So, the five would be circled. 2. Look to the neighbor (can have her draw an arrow), knock on the door, and you round up if it's five or more. 3. If it's five or more, you add one more to the circled number. 4. otherwise, circle stays the same. 5. All numbers after the circle become zeros. 6. All numbers in front of the circle stay the same. 7. You say all this over and over and over again until the are able to do it all on their own.

I would avoid pinning it on the 3rd grade teacher, especially if you are a new hire. If you weren't around last year, you probably don't know where this girl was when she started 3rd grade. Just focus on what you can do. Taking her for individual help is a good idea. I really like what Peachyness is saying about getting out the number line, but if she is as clueless as you say, then I would start her with even lower numbers...start with 0 and 10 and make sure she understands the why and how. Then you can move her up to a hundreds chart or a bigger number line. I found that most kids coming out of third grade were super-comfortable rounding to the nearest 10. So, when I move to the whole process for bigger numbers where you are rounding to a place in the middle, I have the kids box the place you are rounding to and the place after. What you have in the box is a two-digit number you can round to the nearest 10. Put zeroes afterwards and keep everything in front the same, and you have rounded. Of course, once they are good with this process, you have to teach the special exceptions where you are rounding a 9 up, but at least they have a start.

Take a piece of paper and fold it (hot dog). Put the two numbers you are rounding between on the left (lowest rounded number) and the right (highest). Help her to know what these two numbers are, based on what place you are rounding to and the actual number you are working on. This is often the most difficult part of rounding for students. Using a number line helps. Then, prompt her to determine what number is halfway between the upper and lower limit. Place that value on the folded mid-point. Have the student write in the actual number where it would fall on the paper. Then have her use her finger to trace the direction of the difference between the midpoint and the actual number on the page. I assume she will see that the area to the right of the midpoint rounds 'up'. Now, if she really has very low number sense, she may not be able to tell you what the midpoint number should be. I had this situation with a tutoring student (6th grade) who couldn't find the middle number between two tens place numbers.

I worked with her today with numbers in the 1000s. She did great. I also printed out one of those papers where there is a line drawn down the page between the four and the five to nines. Our strategy has been singing the rounding rap, but today we read them as directions instead of a song, because a few weren't getting the connection. She seems to "get" rounding, it is the numbers in the millions that are throwing her off. So I am crossing fingers that she did better on her test. I am not blaming her stituation on the previous teacher, but to send her back is not a good plan for her. She is my challenge...we'll get there. Thanks all for your great strategies...

I found an interactive file for my smartboard for rounding. The premise was that the number you are rounding to is the KING. The number to the right is the messenger. If the messenger is hefty (5 or more) the KING takes one and then cuts the messenger's head off (becomes 0). If the messenger is wimpy (below 4), the king still cuts off the messengers head (they become 0 cuz that's it's head) We drew a crown around the king and circled the messenger. The file tells a story about the origin of "don't shoot the messenger" and then plays a game to teach the concept. I did this and the kids really understood it.

Hey heavens54 As someone who has struggled through life with a maths phobia I know if a teacher had stopped and worked directly with me I may well have stayed at school instead of leaving early. Keep at it because you could well be creating a huge turning point for this girl! Cheers Wayne

Wayne, thank you for saying this. I was amazed by how positive our time was, even though it was short. She seemed very pleased that I was pulling her out. She has NO math confidence. I had a chat with her dad and former teacher this week. Dad promises to get her help but then never does. Parents are too busy to do it. She really seemed to appreciate that I cared. It can make a difference and thanks for reminding me of how she might view things from her perspective...

If you still need help... ...you can Google a ppt. by Monica Yuskaitis titled Math Flash Rounding. Your student could view it by herself or at home with her parents. She could also view it with others that need a refresher or teach it to another student.