Thursday, September 22, 2011


So...I need to vent a little, and ask for some help from some 4th grade Math teachers.  This is my 2nd year teaching 4th grade.  Last year, I followed the pacing guide that our county had created.  1st nine weeks we were teaching Place Value, Addition and Multiplication Properties, reviewed multiplication/division facts, and started double digit multiplication.  2nd nine weeks, was mostly long division.  3rd nine weeks we learned fractions and decimals, and 4th nine weeks was our algebra and graphs.  This worked well....I felt like things moved a sequential pace, and it allowed for me to have time to go back and review previous skills when we came to something new. (We do a daily spiral anyways, but you get the idea).

So this summer, apparently someone thought it would be a good idea to change our pacing guide.  So now in the 1st nine weeks, we have taught Place Value, and now we are working on fractions.  My kiddos understood the benchmark fractions, and writing a fraction for a problem, but when we got to equivalent fractions and simplest form, they lost it.  They are stressing out like no other, and freaking out...and I can't blame them. Their little minds aren't ready for this...first of all, they are coming off of summer...we need to review their multiplication and division before they can start manipulating fractions! And the pacing guide doesn't have us teaching that until 2nd nine weeks, and then we don't even go over the properties until the 3rd nine weeks! It just isn't sequential...and I don't want my kiddos getting all upset over fractions, and feeling defeated this early in the game...that just sets the mood for the rest of the year.

What do y'all think? What is the order that y'all teach these things? Like I said, they understood the benchmark fractions, and writing a fraction from a problem (this many people share this many slices, what fraction does each person get?)...and they can probably understand the adding of fractions with like denominators.  But changing denominators, and reducing fractions...I just feel like we need to do division first...since after all, fractions are division!


  1. I agree, we spend the first 9 weeks on multiplication and division and we do not even touch on fractions or decimals until around the middle of the 3rd nine weeks. Our program is a little interesting in that it teaches fractions before decimals. I feel like my kids get decimals once they get a grasp on fractions so I just flip flop those 2 units and I teach fractions first and then decimals. I say do what is best for your kids, a pacing guide should be just that a "guide" not the end all be all.

  2. I agree it is a "guide" but they create our benchmarks off of the pacing guides, so I don't want my kids to bomb the benchmark, and feel terrible. I would just love to know why it was changed...

    Thank you though for your comment! Kids do seem to understand decimals after fractions!

  3. I completely agree with you!
    This year, my sixth graders are supposed to add and subtract decimals(on day TWO) and multiply and divide decimals (on day THREE!)
    No mention of fractions! No conceptual review! CRAZY!
    Many of them are struggling learners--they don't comprehend fractional parts. When asked how many halves in a whole, one of my students answered happily, "eight, right?" Sigh.

    So I skipped ahead to chapter EIGHT (Don't ask) and reviewed halves, fourths, eighths, tenths, and went back to decimals.

    My students struggle with the idea that changing denominators, doesn't mean changing the amount. So, for equivalent fractions, I start with three basketballs wrapped in different wrapping paper. Then we talk about a basketball is still a basketball... regardless of the wrapping...

    This display precedes the renaming with fraction bars etc. And when they stop remembering equivalence, we just refer to those three basketballs...

    Why does it always seem that pacing guide writers have not been in a classroom for a while...

    Sorry about the rant. I think division makes fractions easier to grasp too!


  4. I'm new to my district. I came in around mid October. From what I gathered our pacing is very similar to your's last year. It does make sense. I think my students would have a hard time with the pacing you're on now. All we can do is our best with what we have. Keep it up.

  5. I am sure you are past fractions by now but I had to comment because my jaw was hitting the table! I cannot believe they would have you teach fractions before multiplication and division!!! You poor thing! This year with started with Geometry, Place Value, Addition/Subtraction, Probability, Elapsed Time,Multiplication/Division, Fractions, Decimals, Measurement, and Problem solving throughout the year. I hope things got better for you! Stop by my blog anytime! I am glad to have found another 4th grade blog!!!

    One Teacher's Take

  6. I actually just finished fractions! I took matters into my own hands and taught them after multiplication and division!

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