# Any way to teach fractions quickly?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by heavens54, Mar 26, 2011.

1. ### heavens54Connoisseur

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Mar 26, 2011

Fourth grade level? We are so behind in math and I am starting to panic. We have a lot to get through in the next four weeks. I have been going by the TE and I am finding this to be S-L-O-W! I am thinking of using ppts, worksheets, whatever I need to do this as fast as I can so we can get to decimals and geometry. Any tips, advice, proven methods? HELP!!!

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Mar 26, 2011

Unfortunately, I don't think it's something you can rush through if you want the kids to understand it. You need to use a lot of manipulatives for kids to really understand fractions. It's a hard concept for fourth graders.

Just do the best you can...I understand your concern because I'm a little behind as well and need to finish up algebra when I get back from break.

4. ### AliceaccMultitudinous

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Mar 26, 2011

PARTS Of fractions should go pretty quickly:
reducing
multiplying
dividing
adding and subtracting when there's a common denominator.

It's that LCD that's bound to slow you down.

5. ### jenneke607Rookie

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Mar 26, 2011

Don't panic! You'll be fine. I agree with Mrs. A; in order to give students enough exposure to the models and concepts involved with fraction work, you'll need some time!

It depends on your state standards and math program, but most 4th graders are focused on generating equivalent fractions (extension from 3rd grade), being able to compare fractions, and addition/subtraction with common denominators. There may also be an emphasis on understanding mixed numbers & improper fractions, or understanding that the 'whole' can change, thus altering the value of a fraction. (e.g. 1/2 of 10 is 5, but 1/2 of 100 is 50.) If you don't take the time to develop some fraction sense now, you won't be able to link these ideas with your decimal unit.

A number of my fifth grade teachers have been feeling stressed about this, too. We decided to take a look at our state standards, and figure out where the curriculum exceeds the expectation. While I hate for teachers to cut out valuable lessons, or to feel like they can't take the time they need to take something more thoroughly, at least we had a better idea of what we could conceivably 'compact.'

I always like using multiple manipulatives and encouraging students to link the idea. Pattern blocks (area model), fraction bars (linear model), fraction circles (circle model), counters (for fractions as parts of a set)... our curriculum also uses Cuisinaire Rods in 2nd and 4th grade as another linear model.

Although my brother teaches in CA -- secondary math -- I actually don't know too much about your state test. Does your district have any documents aligning your curriculum with state frameworks?

6. ### jenneke607Rookie

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Mar 26, 2011

Oh, and if you haven't taught decimals yet, you can start previewing it in the fractions unit. (e.g. using a hundreds grid). I have had teachers make overheads of a square -- one version in which it is divided into 10ths, another into 100ths, and another into 1000ths. As you overlay them, it's easier to see the 10ths getting divided into 10 separate pieces makes them 100ths. This will help with understanding equivalencies and understanding decimals. 10/100 = 1/10, etc. Later you can do this to show how 0.10 = 0.1.

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When I taught 3rd and 5th grades, we had at least a fraction or two a day in calendar time or morning work. Before we ever got to a unit on fractions, they could find easy equivalent fractions and reduce fractions. So, my short answer to the question is, "No."

8. ### AZMrs.SCohort

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Mar 27, 2011

Upsadaisy- Interesting concept to incorporate fractions into calendar times! What kind of activities do you do to incorporate fractions with the calendar?

9. ### moparMultitudinous

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Mar 27, 2011

Fractions are not something that can be taught quickly at the younger grades. These need time to sink in. Students need these skills for when they get a little older.

In fourth grade, students need to have time to make visuals of fractions and really begin to understand what a fraction means (numerator and denominator) as well as writing equivalent fractions, that these are still the same number just written a different way.

This is a prime example of why a pacing guide is needed! Fractions, decimals, and geometry are a valuable part of fourth grade math and concepts that cannot nor should be rushed through!

10. ### Marci07Devotee

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Mar 27, 2011

Please do not rush to teach fractions. These are difficult concepts that students need to spend plenty of time understanding and doing. Are you standard tests done? Is there a major test that you have to prepare students for? If not, I would advice that spending plenty of time to teach fractions is a worthwhile effort.

If there are other areas you want to cover you can even combine fractions with other areas such as area.

In 7th and 8th grade we don't have much time to teach fractions so students work on them for the 5 minute Do Now.

11. ### heavens54Connoisseur

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Mar 27, 2011

Our tests are in May right after our spring break. We don't have a pacing guide. This is my first year with the content. I didn't find key components to the curriculum until early November (a cd, that has been a Godsend, but we are running out of TIME). We have been working with many of these concepts throughout the year, but fractions kind of intimidate me. These students don't have much prior knowledge and are not critical, abstract thinkers.

I think what I will try and do is stick with fractions for the next four weeks and piggy back geometry with it, so we can get two for the price of one. I think they will take to geometry pretty quickly. We have also been working with area/perimeter in a casual way.

Each concept has taken much longer than I anticipated. Now the panic. We'll do it.

12. ### heavens54Connoisseur

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Mar 27, 2011

PS thanks for your comments and advice. They are extremely helpful. I am looking for ppts on these concepts also. Good ones are hard to find...

13. ### heavens54Connoisseur

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Mar 27, 2011

I am looking here right now;

Anyone use this website? Most of it is advanced, but right now I am looking at the area that says developmental math.

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Mar 27, 2011

15. ### moparMultitudinous

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Mar 27, 2011

Also try the SmartExchange. It has many great ppt like presentations but you would have to download smartnotebook to your computer (it is free!)

There is promenthianplanet as well. You would need to download activeinspire to your computer (again it is free!)

16. ### Marci07Devotee

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Tests in May? Wow, I see the dilemma now. Wow. This is just an example of how standardized testing can affect students.

I always introduce adding fractions by having students cut out seets of construction paper in halfs, thirds, fourths, fifths, sixths, eighths, and twelveths. This would be their fraction kit that they will use all the time when we add and subtract fractions. This has helped students to understand common denominators because I tell them that fractions have to be the same size in order to add the slices.

I start by asking them to tell me what is the same size as 1/2 or 1/4. Once we add fractions with manipulatives, we do it in paper and I break it in steps. This worked great with 6 graders who really struggled with fractions.

17. ### heavens54Connoisseur

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Mar 27, 2011

These are all games? 180 to 190 would be fourth grade level? Pretty cool site. Thanks for posting...

18. ### amakayeEnthusiast

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Mar 27, 2011

They are mostly games--some are little interactive mini-lessons. The levels are from the MAP test, so there aren't exact grade equivalents. I would guess it's right around there, but you might have to go up or down a level depending on the topic. (Some activities are in more then one section, too.)

19. ### heavens54Connoisseur

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Mar 29, 2011

We start today. Wish me luck...thanks for your help here, it is always appreciated.

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