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Friday, October 1, 2010

Teaching students fractions: grades K-8

This week, IES released its newest practice guide: Developing Effective Fractions Instruction for Kindergarten through Eighth Grade. In it, IES outlines five research-supported recommendations for helping student to understand fractions and develop fluency with fractions.
Why not get together with your teaching colleagues (or use grade-level meetings) to study each of the recommendations for common strategies to integrate into your fraction lessons?
The recommendation are:
Recommendation 1.
Build on students’ informal understanding of sharing and proportionality to develop initial fraction concepts.
Recommendation 2.
Help students recognize that fractions are numbers and that they expand the number system beyond whole numbers. Use number lines as a central representational tool in teaching this and other fraction concepts from the early grades onward.
Recommendation 3.
Help students understand why procedures for computations with fractions make sense.
Recommendation 4.
Develop students’ conceptual understanding of strategies for solving ratio, rate, and proportion problems before exposing them to cross-multiplication as a procedure to use to solve such problems.
Recommendation 5.
Professional development programs should place a high priority on improving teachers’ understanding of fractions and of how to teach them.

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