If you get the chance, find a primary teacher and talk about maths.
A friend of mine, a primary teacher in another school, asked for some help around fractions and decimals. So one night last week we spent an evening doing just that. It’s been a couple of years since I taught fractions to Year 7s, so I didn’t have many resources close to hand, but with a stack of plain paper, a handful of markers, scissors and glue, we were able to do a lot. I wish I had a photo of all the notes we made.
So we did maths. And it was awesome. We covered a lot of different concepts in a short amount of time. But not only that, but every time I explained an idea, drew a picture or cut out strips of paper (there was a lot of that), I also explained why I would teach those concepts that way. Which meant I was going through the teaching-reflection cycle at an incredibly rapid rate. It’s not that I don’t reflect on my regular teaching (this blog is part of that), but the reflection is never as immediate as this.
Given that I teach in a P-12 school, it’s fairly ridiculous that it’s taken this long for me to realise this is a good idea. But I’m trying to rectify that. I spent some time in the Year 4 classroom the other day which I’m hoping to do more regularly.
One resource I think is essential to teaching fractions is “fraction strips” sheets. I used to have a better template which I can’t find, so here’s one I quickly threw together instead:
Download: fraction strips.docx