Summer is not only a good time for students to review and continue learning, but it is also a prime time for teachers to plan, learn new teaching techniques, and collaborate. While summer is filled with national and local conferences if you can attend, it is also a great time to just get together with colleagues and prepare for the upcoming year.
This has been very apparent at the summer conferences I have attended so far. Teachers and administrators were clamoring around our booth and joining our sessions to learn how our tools and software can help them more effectively teach the difficult topic of fractions. So, if you are not able to attend a conference, here are 3 reasons why July is a good time to use our free fraction tools to get ready for the next school year, whether you begin in August or September.
1. Free tools support summer professional development.
No more looking around for those math manipulatives that have been packed up for summer or even worse, carting them from where they are located to the site of the training. Our free tools are online and allow teachers to experience methods of instruction and lesson ideas with a wide range of models. Math coaches can use the tools with interactive white boards to demonstrate math discussions and best practice in whole class formats. The tools include number line and set models, which tend to challenge elementary teachers.
2. Free tools allow you to plan lessons that fit your way of teaching.
Our free tools are content free, which means you add your own problems and level of difficulty. The tools offer teachers the ability to enter in any problem so it supports virtually all curricula. Take for example the basic skill of adding fractions with common denominators. Teachers can practice creating instructional sequences that move students from adding proper fractions, to mixed numbers to improper fractions. If your students and your curriculum requires simplification then create examples such as 2/6 + 1/6 and accept either 3/6 or ½ for the answer. Clicking the Simplification check box will mark either answer correct. July is a good time to plan your lessons without the pressures of time limitations that come with the school schedule.
3. There is never enough time during the year to explore and make connections
The free tools are correlated with the Common Core State Standards and the NCTM Standards, however it does take planning to select the tools that fit your curriculum and pacing guide. July is a good time to explore the tools and discover ways they can be used for introducing concepts, supporting math discussions and reinforcing critical thinking. Features such as hide/show and linking allow teachers to scaffold instruction to address the standards and skill level of students. This is a great time to explore the tools and make connections between the tools and your particular curriculum and to collaborate with colleagues.
For most teachers, summer is the time to recharge, research, refine their skills and revise instructional plans for the upcoming school year. Our free tools may not help you to recharge but they can help develop new learning, and develop effective and engaging methods to teach fractions within any curriculum.