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4th Grade Math - Understanding Fractions

Clip 4/10: 4th Grade Lesson 2 - Part A


On the second day of the learning segment, Michelle’s students return to their sentence starters and discussion sheets. They examine their work, looking for a set of cards that they matched with a particularly strong justification that they can “save-the-planet-level defend.” Pairs then share their justifications with the whole class, and Michelle challenges her students to communicate precisely and evaluate their own justifications. She uses a “turn and talk” strategy to generate suggestions to improve the clarity of a justification. She models academic language: “Does anyone have a different strategy for enhancing the justification?” Students consider their own justification cards to make improvements: “Is all the evidence you need there? If not, add it.”

Teacher Commentary

MICHELLE MAKINSON: Students are used to justifying, in our school, in every context. You have to justify every scientific conclusion you come to. You have to justify every claim you're making about literature and so, when I look at those mathematical practices, I think of them as guidelines for life but then, I'm dorky like that. It's literally telling you how to be a human being and how to get along in the world and how to define what you believe to be real and why you think it's real. The discussion along the way is the most important thing, it's not about the cards matching, it's about the discussion that proves that they in fact match.

Materials & Artifacts