Right after Christmas break we were hit with some nasty, cold weather here in northern Ohio. As a result, we delayed once and canceled 3 days last week. On the bright side, this gave me some time to work on developing some new materials for my classroom and catch up on reading of the great teacher blogs out there.
The plan when we came back from break was to dive headlong into the infamous topic of "long division." As a teacher of fourth grade for over 20 years, I can tell you that long division is easily the most challenging 4th grade math calculation my students will learn. It involves a complicated, sometimes confusing, algorithm and requires a strong fluency of basic facts for not just for division, but also multiplication, and subtraction, too. To master the steps requires a lot of practice, practice, and more practice. I find myself taking deep breaths and giving myself mental pep talks (You can do this, Pransky.) before beginning these lessons.
We began our study by building a foundation in the vocabulary of division along with ways to represent division using some pages I created for their interactive notebooks. I'll probably put this up on TpT evetually but its not fully ready yet.
|You may have heard of this popular mnemonic|
for the steps used in long division
|Different ways to show division|
In their early learning, I have found students benefit from scaffolding and cues to remind them of the steps that they need to follow to learn the standard method of long division. Once they have rehearsed the steps enough, then I usually transition students doing their calculation on graph paper. (Alignment is crucial for long division.)
Over break I put together a 20 page packet of long division problems to work through during this unit. I joked with the kids when they picked up their packet that they would need to have it done for homework that night - you should see how big their eyes got! Instead we usually we do one page together and one independently each day. By the time students are done with it, they have a done a couple hundred long division problems and most will have the algorithm down pat.
I'm offering it for free on TpT for a little while so check it out if you're interested. Please give me some positive feedback love if you find them useful.
I also just posted a set of division task cards up on TpT. Also, free for a limited time! Go get them. Don't forget to leave some feedback, please.
My task cards are a little unique in that they often have an answer document with a secret code riddle/joke that my students love.
Hope you have a great week, everyone.