Common Core Math Standard 5.NBT.B.7

Add, subtract, multiply, and divide decimals to hundredths, using concrete models or drawings and strategies based on place value, properties of operations . . .

Subtracting Decimals with Base Ten Blocks - Develop the concept of regrouping to add and subtract decimals.

Subtracting Decimals on a Number Line - Give students decimals to add and subtract mentally and use the number line to demonstrate counting up and counting back strategies as the stu- dents share them.

Rope Tug - Challenge students to use their num- ber sense and strategies to determine what decimals will yield the greatest difference.

Adding and Subtracting - Review the algorithm aſter students have come up with it on their own. Students can be questioned: Why is it important to have numbers in the correct place values? What is the relationship between a number and the number to its right and leſt? Students can evaluate if the steps given are a good method.

Decimals Basics Test - Tis open re- sponse test could be used as forma- tive assessment.

Although standardized test ques- tions were used as examples when describing many of these shiſts, it is important to remember that we aren’t teaching the Core simply to prepare the students for the PARRC Assessment or the Smarter Bal- anced Assessment. Te Common Core helps teachers focus on devel- oping the critical-thinking, prob- lem-solving, and analytical skills students will need to be successful in the future. Standardized assess- ments are just an opportunity for students to demonstrate the knowl- edge they have gained from daily Common Core aligned instruction.

It is also important to realize that as you modify your curriculum to align with the Common Core, all of your previous instruction is not invalid. For example, the Common Core standards and assessments fo- cus on main idea and context clues. Students still require skills instruc- tion on how to find a main idea and supporting details and how to use clues in a text to figure out the meaning of an unknown word.

And although much of your Com- mon Core mathematics instruction will be focused on real-world prob- lems (single step and multi step!), students are still required to per- form operational procedures and to explain mathematical properties.

Planning Tip: Present a variety of problem types to help your students get at a concept in multiple ways. For example: Draw a rectangle with

an area of 24. * Find the area of this

rectangle. * Te area of this square is 24. What are the lengths of the sides?

Although you may be feeling the pressure to “get it right” immediate- ly, keep in mind that the Common

Core transition is a process, and you are not in this alone. Schools across the country are facing the same challenges. It will take years of team work, planning, teaching, assessing, and reflecting to fully implement the standards. So, rest assured that with each new cur- riculum adjustment and each new teaching technique, you are moving in the right direction of helping your students develop the complex and varied skills they will need throughout life.

Food For Thought: Are you giving too much information in word problems? A typical word problem might read something like this:

A patio floor is 40 feet x 40 feet. I want to cover the floor with tiles that are 2 feet x 2 feet. If each tile costs \$1.10, how much will it cost to tile the entire floor?

Have you ever stopped to think how unlike real life this problem solving situation is? When we set out to solve a problem, we first need to fig- ure out what information we need. Ten we need to gather that infor- mation. And finally we can use that information to solve the problem. But in the problem solving situation above, we have provided students all of the information they need.

Here’s how that problem might look when presented to a class in the context of a real life problem solving situation:

How much will it cost to cover this patio floor with decorative tiles?

It seems incomplete, doesn’t it? Tat’s the point! Students can work in groups, pairs, or individually to determine the information they need to answer the problem. Only aſter students have requested the information do you reveal it.

**Food for Tought is based on Dan Meyer’s 2010 Ted Talk: Math Class Needs A Makeover. 13

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