We've all said this at some point in our teaching career: "I feel like I'm beating my head against the wall!!! What more can I do to help them understand this concept?!" Well, this week I think this statement has become my theme. I have taught my students how to simplify fractions (which they learned well), how to convert improper fractions to mixed numbers in simplest form, and vice versa. Then I began teaching them to add and subtract fractions. That beginning was about 4 weeks ago. This week, I began the daily torture of waking up at 6:00 a.m., preparing myself for my job, dressing professionally, putting on a happy face, and coming into the school simply to endure the pain of my head meeting the wall for 60 minute periods, four consecutive periods a day! My students have an exam on these concepts...TOMORROW!!! I have taught these precious children a myriad of ways to solve these math problems. I have given them fraction burgers, fraction tiles, fraction circles and had them make their own fractional doolollies so that they can hold and maneuver the fractions we're working with. I have put interactive fraction games on my big Promethean board and had them play these games. I have given them homework, checked it, worked problems from it, brought apples into my classroom and cut them into fractions, had them count beans, had them color blocks...I think you understand what I've done in order to try to be sure that my precious students understand fractions.
Today, I gave them the last practice problems before the exam on a piece of paper. I told them to work on them on their own. I walked to my desk to begin grading some papers I have had stacked for about a month. One of my precious students raised his hand. I acknowledged him and he asked if he could come ask me a question. I said yes. He walked over to my desk with his practice problems and pencil in hand and said............................................................................
"Can you show me how I'm supposed to do this?"
Once again...my head and the wall have become good friends!