Problems of Practice

This assignment makes me a bit uncomfortable. We each have to come up with an area where our students really struggle and write up an analysis of the problem, context, technology used and how we teach it. Then, we give the problem to a classmate who takes the problem and solves it for us. That is the part that makes me uncomfortable. I have no issue with asking for help. However, I like to be involved in the process of solving my own problem and reaching out to other people. With this, I had to give up the problem to another teacher and let them do all of the solving. All that being said, the teacher who is responsible for solving my problem of practice is someone who I respect and would be willing to ask for help from. I just don’t like completely giving over my problem to someone else. I would much prefer to discuss with them throughout the whole process rather than solely at the beginning and end.

The problem I am passing off to my colleague is in regards to teaching equivalent fractions. My students tend to do ok throughout the week we spend learning about equivalent fractions, but then seem to forget all about how to find equivalent fractions once it comes to applying them in other contexts (e.g. comparing fractions with unlike denominators). Additionally, my district only gives us five days to teach the topic. My students are successful at using fraction bars to figure out which fractions are equivalent, but struggle to use other methods. While I am always ok with students using those manipulatives in class, they are not permitted to use them on the district and state tests. They also struggle with drawing accurate representations of fractions to use those instead of the fraction bars.

Personally, I feel the number one thing I need to do is spend more time on finding equivalent fractions, perhaps through incorporating more practice while comparing fractions (the other part of the fractions unit where students work with unlike denominators). However, this is not my problem to solve at the moment, and I need to work on taking a step back from this.