Day 76-77 Fractions, special case equations

Day 76: Fractions assessment for my other standard class. Pre-algebra played with Doceri while solving special case equations.

Day 77: Future tense: Standard classes will review their assessment and pre-algebra will continue with special case equations. After that we’ll wrap up the 2013 with some games.

Day 75: fractions assessment

I gave an early holiday gift to my standard class today. They had an open book, open notes assessment. Before the test I listed the page numbers of the two fractions sections as well as the integer rules sections on the whiteboard. I even left a few example problems on the board. While most didn’t need these resources, three students in particular would have benefited. One took advantage of the opportunity, but the other two made no attempt to consult the textbook, notes, or even the homework we just reviewed which was practice problems similar to the assessment.

As the class worked on the assessment one student asked me, “How do you subtract a fraction with negatives?”

I said, “You can find that in the textbook.” The textbook stayed closed.

Day 74: Fractions and special case equations

Last night I created a video on adding and subtracting negative fractions and used Educanon to embed multiple choice questions.


Not a perfect video, but it served its purpose.

I’m trying to reach these students who are still struggling with the concept so I thought differentiating using the video would help. The video ran about 15 minutes including time for the questions. I routinely checked in on each student while the others worked on problem solving. As I checked in on the students I watched them making correct choices and incorrect choices. Each distractor included a response that gave them a clue as to the mistake they were making. The responses displayed after the distractors are helpful if the student reads them and analyzes their work closely.

When the video ended they joined the rest of the class working in small groups solving problems.

In pre-algebra I ripped off Courtney’s work on Special Cases–she credits Sarah and the MAP lesson on Solving Linear Equations. It took the entire block and was well worth the time.

special cases

Days: 68-73

I’ve fallen behind.

In Standard, fractions continue to be a thorn in the side of some students. We’ll be assessing on adding and subtracting this week. I’m more worried about my “A” day class. It includes several students who, last year, were in the academic level. I’m meeting them where they are at, but it’s two grade levels below where they should be.

In Pre-algebra. Students just finished two-step equations and I just introduced equations with variables on both sides, including special cases.

variables both sides

Prior to the lesson students watched this video I remixed on the EduCanon website. I’m not a fan of the flipped classroom, but nearly all of the students came into class the following day with enough background knowledge to successfully complete the entrance slip.

Day 66: regrouping in standard and tech problems

On the Curiouser and Curiouser blog I posted a detailed reflection of what I learn from my standard class today.

For Pre-algebra it was a bit of a bust. I wanted the students to use the laptops to work on two step equations using NCTM’s Virtual Manipulative algebra balance scales. It wasn’t until the students got to the site when I learned the site is blocked on the student computers. The iPads were available so I just had the students practice solving two step equations using Doceri.

Day 65: sub plans

I had curriculum writing today so I left sub plans today for the standard students to continue learning fractions. The results from the pre-test for this class told me one student required differentiation. Based on the discussions on Monday I sensed many of the students simply “forgot” so my plans were for the sub to teach adding and subtracting fractions and mixed number addition and subtraction over the course of the block.

The student who pre-tested out of most of the concepts worked on challenge practice problems using both the textbook and textbook resources.

Days 62-64: determining importance and more

I’m a bit behind.

Standard classes on Thursday and Friday: We reviewed comparing and ordering fractions, then spent the rest of the time working on finding text evidence to solve word problems. I modeled this think-aloud:

…then the students worked on this problem:

student determining importance

What is puzzling is that so few students were able to make sense of the problem. Below, a student correctly identified the text evidence but was stumped after that.

student determine importance

I continued exploring determining importance and 3 students were able to correctly solve this problem:


Most student errors were related to not taking into account the length of the tunnel, so their answers were 6 minutes. I solved the problem using a proportion. None of the students thought to solve the problem that way. It gave me the opportunity to use my favorite saying, “There’s more than one way to skin a cat.”

Today (Monday) students took a pre-assessment on fraction operations. This class we’ll need in-depth review.

Pre-algebra: on Thursday students took an assessment on one step equations. On Friday we reviewed the answers and then explored determining importance using this problem:

The sum of the ages of Elmira, Geoff and Rae is 82. If Elmira adds 6 to Geoff’s age, subtracts 8 from Rae’s age, or doubles her own age, it will equal Doug’s age. How old is Doug?

I don’t have student work to share as we only had but a few minutes. Tomorrow we’ll discuss it, explore a new problem, then begin work on decimal equations.