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Lesson

4th grade math - Understanding Fractions

Clip 3/10: Lesson 1, Part C

Overview

Michelle's students work in pairs to match cards showing different representations of fractional quantities, matching pictures with verbal descriptions, and using [**sentence stems**](/assets/classroom-videos/formative-re-engaging-lessons/4th-grade-math-understanding-fractions/sentence-stems.pdf) to follow a [**discussion process**](/assets/classroom-videos/formative-re-engaging-lessons/4th-grade-math-understanding-fractions/discussion-process.pdf). They then create a [**justification card**](/assets/classroom-videos/formative-re-engaging-lessons/4th-grade-math-understanding-fractions/justification-cards.pdf) to describe their reasons for making a match. The sentence stems support students’ agreement, disagreement, requests for clarification, and restatements of each other’s ideas. Michelle circulates among the pairs, probing each pairs’ work and reminding them about the discussion process. In their discussions, they try to “communicate precisely to others.”

Teacher Commentary

MICHELLE MAKINSON: That's all part of the lesson, in terms of not saying that there's a one-to-one match. “You're going to find the green card that matches with the white card. I don't know. You're going to have to tell me. You might have to make more cards. Could be. You're the person deciding what makes sense.” And they might find another way that makes sense or might not realize that a card makes sense and make another version of it that does make sense. That's more illuminating.

As I was checking in with the partners, I made sure that they were using the mat; there were some groups that were racing through, trying to just match things. I'm like, "But wait a minute, did you have the discussion, because here's the process," and re-engaged them back into that. Then, seeing if you know that it matches, you have to have a strong answer for why it does and connecting it to the picture. Connecting it to the words. If that reason is compelling enough, your partner should be able to say that back to you in a way that makes sense to them and to you. When you've achieved that, then you can document it in your justification card.

I think that that process was working. I think that kids of this age need those manipulatives to get it done. It's not enough to just say, "Hey. Go talk about math." They need that structure with physical scaffolding that allows them to move in that direction.