Doing maths with primary teachers

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


Shaun used to be maths, IT and ocassional physics teacher at a small P-12 school (primary and secondary) in rural Victoria, Australia. He is currently in the process of starting his career again in the United States.

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Math Equals Love

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Shaun Carter
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