Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Hidden Gems: Fractions=Trouble!

This week's Hidden Gem is a math mentor text that is really so much more. "Fractions=Trouble!" is a gem in my book because it confronts the issue of learning a difficult topic, social adjustments to accepting help when you need it, and exploding pickles!

First, any text about fractions is a benefit to most of my students in grades 3 through 10. No matter how well these kids have done in math, it seems fractions give them a hard time. Wilson is a great kid, who just doesn't seem to get it, no matter how hard he tries. I love it though, that as things start to make sense, he starts to fractions in just about every part of his everyday life.

Second, the main character, Wilson, is getting a math tutor for the first time and he emotionally expresses his concerns. We get to walk alongside this young man as he comes to terms with accepting help and not being ashamed of his own weaknesses. I also love the strategy the tutor uses, very much like my own.

Finally, Wilson also explains in a realistic tone his frustration with trying to focus on a subject he's not good at and is not at all interested in. He tries so hard to pay attention in class so he can pass the test and not need the tutor after all. But we all know how well that works out, doodles and staring off into space tell him it's not so easy to focus on something that doesn't make sense to you.

What a fine text for most of the students I work with (especially those who are both math and reading students!). If after reading this with your students, you think they could use a little more help understanding fractions you can check out this resource, and here's a free game that will help them build their fraction number sense.

Amy, over at Teaching Ideas 4 You has written about a few Hidden Gems she uses with her class, And Caitlin at The Room Mom has as well, check them out, you might find a new gem you never knew you couldn't live without!

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