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23 October 2009

Fractions, Division and History

First, Fractions are fun and easy at the third grade level. You should do them every day for a couple of weeks along with some real math. Eventually, you get enough meat to start doing challenging things with them.

Second, skip counting is wonderful but doesn't easily translate into knowing how to divide. I realized that although CC can divide when she's doing word problems, she quickly loses confidence when faced with a page of division problems. This morning, we had glorious fall weather so we did math on the swing set. I'd ask her a division problem, and she groan that she couldn't do it. Not the best approach to math. So, we tried skip counting through the table of the divisor which still didn't translate into her popping an answer. Eventually we took turns running through the multiplication tables while we were swinging "4 times 2 is 8" "4 times 3 is 12".... until we got to the number we needed and then she would jump out of her swing and write the answer. It is a slow way of doing it, but beats the stubborn refusal to divide.

Third, a child that excels at reading, enjoys quality literature, and makes great connections between historical events will really hate most history books. Really. They are either below her reading level, poorly written, dry, not engaging, or assume that the kids have no previous knowledge of the subject. I had high hopes for our three failed books this week, and I enjoyed reading each of them: Eating the Plates, Roanoke, the Lost Colony, and The Adventurous Life of Myles Standish. CC loves history, but she already knew most of what was in these books. I really liked the Myles Standish book - it has a great time line at the bottom. The problem with my history lover is continuously supplying her with challenging and interesting books that are appropriate. I am going to rethink our history again - I think she will hate the rest of the books I have for this unit.

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