Sunday, June 9, 2013

Fractions Mentor Text

Today I am going to link up a book that is totally obvious.  So, I hope you aren't disappointed.  But I don't think you will be....

Now, this past week I have been involved in something called The Math Institute which is a staff development that my county gives for teachers.  The very short story is master trainers teach cluster trainers who teach teachers.  Confused yet?  

I am a cluster trainer.  Our clusters are made based on the high school.  So there are 4 elementary schools and 2 middle schools that feed into our one high school.  Therefore,  a cluster.  So, a master trainer spent 4 days teaching students.  I had to observe because now I have to go back to my cluster and do the same thing- teach students (who I've never met) while teachers watch me teach them.  The end result is that we hope the teachers that are watching us will use best practices that they've seen us do in their own classroom.  Our lessons are all revolving around questioning techniques, math talk, and guided math groups.  It's really a great program.  Except when you are the one chosen to be a trainer and then, although flattering, it's nerve-wracking knowing people are watching and critiquing everything.  But, it's ok.  It'll be ok (that's what I keep telling myself.).

Moving on...

We used this book this past week (and I'll use it again this week) to review fractions with the fourth graders. I used to use this book when I introduced fractions in 3rd, but I didn't use it this year in 4th, thinking it would be too easy.  However, I forgot that the book has a ton of equivalent fractions in it and is a great way to work on parts of a SET, which is what trips them up.  Silly me.

We are using actual Hershey bars with the book.

There's nothing like bribing kids I don't know to behave for me for the 4 days so I can get through it.

Using the Hershey Bar makes it concrete for them.  We are also focusing on the arrays that they can make and their relationship to equivalent fractions.  So, we hope they will see the connection that all of the arrays they make (4x3, 3x4, 1x12, 12x1, 6x2, 2x6) also help them in finding a denominator for equivalent fractions.  We shall see how this works!

We use white boards to write our thinking and to make the equivalent fractions as we go.  I like to see that they are thinking, not just drooling over the chocolate!

I think the are going to love the Hershey Bars lesson.

The only thing that annoys me about this is that there are no new The Hershey Fractions Book in print.  I thought I had this book but realized I didn't, so I went to buy one and had to buy it used (because I was not going to pay a ridiculous amount for this book new).  I wonder why they aren't printing them anymore???  Maybe I should ask Jerry Pallotta...  ;O)

So, this may be an obvious and basic book for teaching fractions, but you can always extend the lessons and their thinking.  And truly...who doesn't love to do math with chocolate???

Y'all think about me next week as I'm having a nervous breakdown being observed by teachers!  ;O)

Now, it's your turn!

(If you have never linked up before you can check HERE for more information.)

For the Linky- Please make yourself a SANDWICH!  Please comment on the person who linked up before you and the person that linked up after you.  I know everyone puts in a lot of time and effort to these posts and I want everyone to feel the love!!!  (Haha, see, you're a know...because you are in the middle of the you get it?)  ;O)

Next week's topic- Science


  1. This will be a great book for you to use this week. I'm sure the kids will love it. I have no doubt you will be fantastic this week. I'll be thinking of you and praying for you!
    Hunter's Tales from Teaching

  2. Jerry Palotta came to visit our school this year and he told us why these books (and all books relating to candy) are now out of print. Can you guess? It's because the publishing company wants to avoid all future law suits about teaching with candy. There's a bit more to it than that, but that was the answer in a nut shell. Sad. Anyway...good luck this week. I know you will rock it!

    Fun in Room 4B

    1. I was wondering why so many were currently out of print- thanks for clarifying.

  3. Great stuff! Thanks so much for sharing your experiences!

    Have a wonderful week--
    Sarah @ Hoots N Hollers

  4. I can imagine your stress. I know you will do an amazing job but it is often hard teaching in front of our peers especailly when you are trying to hit a number of teaching points.

    I really like these books and often forget that you can take a simple book and really extend it for older students. This was a really good reminder.

    I can't believe what Elizabeth said about the reason these books were discontinued, so sad. Glad I have a copy, may have to wrap it in plastic :).

    Thanks for hosting! Glad we are both back to posting, missed you ladies!

  5. Best of luck with your pd. You would have never been picked if you could not pull it off. The chocolate is a little extra insurance.
    Thanks again for hosting.

    School Is a Happy Place

  6. My first and second graders have been working on fractions. We have had this book out in our math book tub and they LOVE to look at it. No joke, kids will get excited when they see the candy! Silly that this book is no longer in print, we checked our out from the library...glad you were able to find a used copy!
    Enchanting Elementary

  7. Ladies~
    This is a great book! I love to use it even with my middles.
    Are you planning to continue these linky's throughout the summer? Sorry I haven't linked up lately.. just crazy here. But I'd like to try and get back into it once school gets out.

    Enjoy your week!
    Coffee Cups and Lesson Plans

  8. Thank you for the reminder that this book is NOT too easy to use with 4th graders! I need to add this to my list for next year, especially as we are starting out with exploring fraction relationships. Having the "real" thing would be a great motivator too:)
    Fourth Grade Flipper

  9. Several years ago I did this book/activity with candy bars on a "Fun Friday." The few kids that didn't earn the reward had to use paper candy bars instead. It definitely isn't as fun without the actual candy.

    room 4 imagination

  10. Thanks ladies for hosting this linky-as always I find many great lessons to pin so I can remember them all when I am teaching these topics!

    I LOVE this linky for so many reason but one main one is simply because you get so many great resources all in one spot...and even with people teaching different grade levels you can still take and adapt to your grade level.

    We introduce fractions to our little ones with common core and this book would be perfect (hello, using chocolate?!?! how can it get any better than that?!?!) Thanks so much for sharing!

    PS I am sure you are doing an A.M.A.Z.I.N.G job with all of your lesson and how neat to be chosen for something like-what I compliment! I would feel the same way and continuously repeat the same words! :) Good luck with the rest of your lessons!! :)

    Learning to the Core

  11. I did this lesson for an observation earlier this year with my pullout math class. It went really well, and the observer had many great things to say. I did tell my students (all on IEPs) several times, that what they were going to get was a math tool. We don't eat rulers, or scissors, or calculators, so they weren't to eat this until given an okay. (They had washed up before the lesson, yay for a sink in the classroom, and were working on paper towels, so I figured that'd be sanitary enough.) Just make sure the AC is on in your room, since your doing this in the summer so the chocolate doesn't get soft on you!

    I feel like when I bop over to your blog, that I get PD every time. If your not sharing something personally that your doing, you share what those around you are doing, or you offer the opportunity for others to share as well (such as this linky). You may stress and over analyze (if your anything like me...) but, you are a phenomenal teacher and they wouldn't ask just anybody to take this on. They had to ask somebody great, so they chose you! :)

    Can't wait to hear how your rocked this lesson :)
    Teaching Tales Along the Yellow Brick Road

  12. I use that book as well with actual Hersheys! Isn't it great how much candy hooks them into a lesson?! This year I made little books for the kids to fill out as we went! They loved it! I bet you are going to do a wonderful job, and that is so neat that you got to observe another teacher doing the lesson as well! I would love to see how you use the book? Maybe you should videotape, since you are already having teachers watch you?? It won't make it more stressful or anything. :) And I agree, so lame that the book is out of print! I had to order a used copy off Amazon, and when I got it I found out that it was actually signed by him! That was a pretty neat surprise! :)

    Lessons with Laughter

  13. I like to use this book too (1st & 2nd grades). Reading this makes me laugh, because when I first use the Hershey's bar, I beat it up and give out different pieces/crumbs to each child. They talk and laugh about it as I am not being fair. I wish I could join in on your presentation- I hope it went well!

    Learning With Mrs. Brinn


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