Friday, January 27, 2012

Weekly Class Summary: Jan. 23-27

SOLs Covered: 6.4 & 6.6a&b Multiplication and Division with Fractions
Math Dictionary Sections: (18) Multiply & Divide Fractions
Upcoming Assessments: Second Benchmark Test (Tues. 1/31 & Wed. 2/1); Multiply & Divide Fractions (Fri. 2/3)

Our work for the week was very intense since we started a unit that is brand new to the kids (i.e. not introduced in elementary school): multiplication and division of fractions, with and without mixed and whole numbers.  After the other sixth grade math teachers and I previewed next week's benchmark test and saw how complex the new "rigorous" questions are in order to reflect the new SOLs, I decided to extend this unit to allow us a bit more time to prepare, so the unit quiz will not be until next Friday, February 3.  While this will make for an intense week of testing, it gave us time to use multiple methods to solve the various questions covered throughout the week.

All questions were first modeled with different types of pictures, predominately fraction bars/boxes to align with how we expect it to be tested on this year's SOL.  We also used various "real world" models to match some of the word problems covered: rulers, ribbon, paint buckets, measuring cups, wooden boards, etc.  Such models allow students to make sense of something that can be contradictory to what they expect from the operations when dealing with whole numbers.  Students expect all multiplication problems to give "bigger" products and division to give "smaller" quotients.   When they see how multiplication is taking "parts of parts" and division is "splitting into sections," they can then understand how 23 × 23 = 49 and 12 ÷ 12 = 1.  Once students understood the why behind what's happening, we moved onto the "old school" rules/steps for solving the problems numerically.  We will pick up where we left off after the benchmark test is finished.

Video made by Ms. Lambert using

Students are reminded to study over the Math Dictionary sections, quizzes, homework, and classwork from this term to prepare for the benchmark.  It will most likely be the most difficult test of the year, but it is not an impossible test if students remember to take their time and carefully "pick apart" the word problems and show their work.  Remember: "You CAN do it!"

Final grades for the term and semester have been posted to Edline.  All grades for this week will be added onto the next term, which will allow students who have been absent from class and those a little behind on this week's work a chance to still turn the assignments in for grading.  Those updates will be posted by the end of the week at the latest once the system rolls over to the new term.

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