Katleya Healy is at Salazar in the Chicago Public Schools. She is from Colombia where she taught Philosophy, Religion and Hispanic literature . Katleya enjoys swimming , playing guitar, crafts, collecting coins, and writing poetry. In spite of her English challenges, Katleya has two masters degrees, National Board Certification, and a strong desire to help her students learn.
My students are 5th grade diverse learners who have various learning disabilities.Among them are: visual perceptual deficits, difficulty remembering math facts, left-to-right sequencing, and have trouble reading. Identifying part of a whole implies scaffolding from concrete to abstract stages. I started with a brief conversation about their favorite food. I presented a dialogue where two brothers wanted to share an orange but they don't know how to do it? I showed the orange to them and had them discuss with a partner. They came with the idea to cut it in half or two parts. I had three more oranges and cut them in two parts but not exactly by the middle and asked them again if it was fair. They concluded that the parts have to be equal. I asked them "if when they were sharing their orange , were they eating the whole orange or a part?" I told them that is what we call a fraction of the whole orange. Then I gave them chocolate bars and asked ,"how many parts do you have to give to your brother to share that chocolate bar?"They worked with three different chocolate bars divided into different parts and explored how to share them with two, three and four people. The students discussed their answers and drew how they divided their chocolate bars on their papers. Students worked these activities in stations . One group worked with print-made games while other groups worked with matching fractions and others with school objects. Later, they were given a problem using multi-colored goldfish crackers where they had to find out the fraction for each color they had. Students had a hand -out where they recorded and tally their answers in an organized way .At the end, they got to eat crackers from a different bag.
This lesson strategy was powerful because even if my students had experienced disappointment with math concepts before, they were able to happily grasp the concept of a fraction at a concrete level. By exploring with manipulative, my students made conclusions about dividing into equal parts, and what that represents as related to the whole. By being able to generalize and draw models of fractions they saw, my students were capable of transferring their knowledge to solve problems at a different level. Using different real-life problems such as sharing food with their friends made them aware of the use of fractions to make fair decisions when they encounter these situations. It was awesome because they discovered that eating 2/4 of the chocolate bar is more than eating 2/8 of the chocolate bar and eating 2/4 is the same as eating 1/2 of the chocolate bar. End of the discussion of the reason why one has more chocolate than another!