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Talking about Free Tech Tools for Teaching Fractions

There is much to learn from three elementary school teachers who meet weekly as a professional learning community (PLC). Together they identify free tech tools to support their struggling students using the rich resources in PowerUp WHAT WORKS. Aligned with the Common Core Standards, they are now focusing on working with fractions—each drawing upon a different PowerUp Math Lesson in Action.

Let's follow their discussion over the next three weeks as they gather around a large screen monitor displaying PowerUp.

Meeting Week 1

Caroline reviewed the lesson by a 4th grade teacher who was using a virtual manipulative from the National Library of Virtual Manipulates (NLVM) to help students add fractions with like denominators.

Michael's lesson showed how a teacher used two virtual manipulatives, also from the NLVM to assess students—one on fraction bars and one on number line.

"Let's check these out" suggested Arayle. She navigated to the Tech Tip Support Your Math Instruction. They opened the Quick View video on Virtual Manipulatives.

They like what they see. Caroline decides, "I'm going to integrate a virtual manipulative into instruction next week. What about you?"

Everyone agrees it's a good idea.

Meeting Week 2

"So how did go using virtual manipulatives?" asks Arayle. All three teachers report that their students were highly engaged and were able to grasp the key concepts. Michael then shares other valuable PowerUp resources on fractions:

Before the meeting ends, Caroline and Arayle each select apps to try in their classroom. Michael decides to use an online tool on multiplying fractions he found in Focus on Fractions: Finding Tech to Meet Student Needs blog post on PowerUp.

Meeting Week 3

Caroline starts the meeting, "My students were immediately excited and engaged with the Oh No Fractions!, app. A few of the kids have been struggling grasping the concept of the relationship between fractions. Presenting it as a simple, visual based tool was very helpful."

Arayle adds, "Math Blaster HyperBlast 2 is awesome! The kids loved the strategy games."

Michael encourages others to use the formative assessment tool. "There are a number of samples assessments and related resources available on PowerUp to help plan the formative assessment."

As the meeting ends, they agree their next, related topics will be Conducting Research and Presenting.

Judith Zorfass, Principle Investigator, PowerUp WHAT WORKS
Tracy Gray, Project Director, PowerUp WHAT WORKS
Contributor: Caroline Martin, Research Assistant, PowerUp WHAT WORKS

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