[Numeracy 132] Re: Starting with intensive study of fractions

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GREER, Karen Karen.Greer at victoriacollege.edu
Tue Feb 9 16:04:25 EST 2010

Hello, My name is Karen Greer and I teach fundamental math at Victoria College Adult Ed. and am a trainer in the Texas Math Institute. A way that really worked for my group was creating fractions each day using the # of students enrolled in the class as the denominatpr or the "whole" and the number present as the numerator"the part". Each day they recorded the fraction and we also called it a ratio and made a % also. At the end of the semester they graffed the results in any way they chose and did mean, median, and mode. By the time they did this all semester, they got it. They also talked about how the fraction went down in value...go figure!
From: numeracy-bounces at nifl.gov [numeracy-bounces at nifl.gov] On Behalf Of Kate Nonesuch [Kate.Nonesuch at viu.ca]
Sent: Tuesday, February 09, 2010 10:01 AM
To: The Math and Numeracy Discussion List
Subject: [Numeracy 128] Re: Starting with intensive study of fractions

Hi Andrew--"Human Fractions" is a way to model many basic ideas about fractions--meaning of denominator and numerator, equivalencies, etc. Also gives time for social interaction, much repetition in an interesting context, etc.

You are going to ask the class to sort themselves into groups that meet the criteria you call out, for example, "pairs in which half the people are wearing glasses." Start by saying that there will nearly always be a few people left over who can’t make that pair (e.g., three people all wearing glasses), and they should come to see you immediately (you have a job for them). Then ask the class to get into pairs in which half the people are wearing glasses.

Start with the group that doesn’t fit the criteria: What fraction of the people in this group is wearing glasses? Ask them to be your assistants in checking out the rest of the activity.

Ask one assistant to pick a pair to come forward. Ask the class to check that half the people in the pair are wearing glasses. Write the fraction on the board. (Two people in the group, so the bottom number is 2. One person wearing glasses, so the top number is 1.) Ask the assistant to pick another pair, and ask the class to check that half that pair is wearing glasses. Ask the second pair to join the first, so that the two people with glasses stand beside each other. Write the fraction of the new group wearing glasses. (Four people in the group, so the bottom number is four. Two people wearing glasses, so the top number is 2.) The fraction is 2/4. In this new group, do we still have half the people wearing glasses? Ask the assistant to bring in another pair, and repeat. You can ask another assistant to write the fraction, 3/6. Repeat until all the pairs have joined. When all the pairs have been joined to the growing group, ask everyone to sit down, and ask your assistants to review the equivalent fractions written on the board.

Other suggestions for forming groups: Ask students to get into groups where 1/3 of the people are wearing watches; where 2/3 of the people are wearing sneakers; where 1/4 of the people are wearing shorts; where 4/5 of the people are wearing pants; where 3/4 of the people are wearing some piece of black clothing; and finally, to find many equivalents for 1, ask for groups of any size where all of the people are students, or all are men or all are women, etc.

This idea is taken from my book, Changing the Way We Teach Math, available free at http://www.nald.ca/library/learning/mathman/mathman.pdf

Kate Nonesuch
Kate Nonesuch
Victoria, BC
kate.nonesuch at viu.ca

Do you or anyone else have any other recommended activities for making the abstract concept of fractions more concrete? I would like to spend a couple more weeks on approaching them various ways and really make sure that they are clear before moving on to decimals and percents.


Andrew J. Isom
Math Specialist
Center For Literacy
North Philadelphia Community High School
(215)744-6000 ext. 210

-----Original Message-----
From: numeracy-bounces at nifl.gov on behalf of numeracy-request at nifl.gov
Sent: Mon 2/8/2010 12:36 PM
To: numeracy at nifl.gov
Subject: Numeracy Digest, Vol 2, Issue 9

When replying, please edit your Subject line so it is more specific
than "Re: Contents of Numeracy digest..."

Today's Topics:

1. [Numeracy 116] Re: Personal Introduction (Linda Shilling-Burhans)
2. [Numeracy 117] Re: introductions (Linda Shilling-Burhans)


Message: 1
Date: Mon, 8 Feb 2010 09:43:10 -0500 (Eastern Standard Time)
From: "Linda Shilling-Burhans" <lshilling at cvabe.org>
Subject: [Numeracy 116] Re: Personal Introduction
To: "The Math and Numeracy Discussion List" <numeracy at nifl.gov>
Message-ID: <4B7022FE.000004.02644 at LSHILLING-BU-PC>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="utf-8"

Hello Arnold,
This sounds fantastic. It has never failed that when an adult student weak
in math comes in it all goes back to fractions. Sounds like you have the
secret. I have been working with one adult for a year (though he is not
putting in intense time to the study) but he just keeps saying he just doesn
t get it.
As it turns out, I will be in Sarasota in April (who from the north won't
be?). Do you have any material that reflects your teaching style?
Best,? ? ? ?

Linda Shilling-Burhans
Community Coordinator
Central Vermont Adult Basic Education
Bradford Learning Center

-------Original Message-------

From: arnoldbailey
Date: 2/6/2010 4:10:07 PM
To: 'The Math and Numeracy Discussion List'
Subject: [Numeracy 108] Re: Personal Introduction

Sounds as if you have your work cut out for you. I tutor Title 1 children in
math and I found a very high success rate by starting them out with
intensive studies of fractions. I found that by teaching them how fractions
are simply division problems and giving them an easy way to remember
Numerator and Denominator positions, conversion from fraction to division
problem and division to fraction, and the various other combinations the
children find Algebra rather simple. I have several 3rd Grade students with
IEP's that were D and F students, now doing 5th Grade math and middle school
basic Algebra. Once the light clicks and they grasp the concept of
fractions, their confidence rapidly increases as does their interest.


Sarasota, Florida

-----Original Message-----
From: numeracy-bounces at nifl.gov [mailto:numeracy-bounces at nifl.gov] On Behalf
Of Andrew Isom
Sent: Friday, February 05, 2010 9:33 AM
To: numeracy at nifl.gov
Subject: [Numeracy 107] Personal Introduction

Hello all!

It's nice to e-meet you all. My name is Andy and I am in a position title
"Math Specialist" for an community literacy organization in Philadelphia.
It's an interesting position for the fact that I actually work with youth
ages 16 - 21 who attend an "accelerated" school for students who are behind
on their credits and therefore at risk of dropping out. Many of our students
have been placed here by a probation officer and we have many teen mothers,
but we do have students who have made their way here through other means.

It is an exciting position for me because I have taught high school and
middle school math in the city for 4 years prior to taking this position,
having come here through Teach For America and being placed as a Algebra I
and II teacher at a large comprehensive high school in North Philly. It was
an immensely deflating position because many of the students needed
intensive remediation, but due to the fact that our old "CEO" Paul Vallas
(now in New Orleans making the same bad policy decisions) decided that all
schools in the city should strictly adhere to a "core curriculum". This
meant that I had to be on the same page in the same textbook as every other
math teacher in every other school in the city, despite the specific needs
of my students.

At the school I am placed at all of our students are given the TABE and we
have a wide range of ability levels, but most students are well below their
grade level. We also place students by ability level, but they are usually
placed more based on their literacy score than math, and they almost always
score lower on their math. So, this position has offered me the time and
freedom to explore remediation strategies for students with profound
misconceptions. I have had some small successes but also floundered wildly
in my attempts. I spend a great amount of my time and energy seeking the
best possible ways to assist them in their development of their numeracy
skills. I have so much to learn still, and am therefore very excited about
the prospect of learning from a talented and dedicated community of
like-minded colleagues!

Sorry for the long windedness (you might think I were a drama teacher!) and
I look forward to future e-discussions and discovery of new resources!

Best wishes~~

Andrew J. Isom
Math Specialist
Center For Literacy
North Philadelphia Community High School (215)744-6000 ext. 210
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