Stuff Students Say

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Jul 14 2011

Multiplying fractions, y’all

This week has been pretty crazy for a wide variety of reasons. Reason #1 being, the students have been majorly struggling with both my math lessons and those of my co-teacher. Today we realized that our students can’t compute the area of a triangle because they can’t correctly multiply with decimals. They can’t correctly multiply with decimals because they can’t do double-digit multiplication. And, oh yeah, they can’t do multiplication because they don’t know their times tables and they struggle with multi-digit SUBTRACTION.

Wow, guess there’s that ‘achievement gap’ thing that TFA keeps telling us about.

Despite these difficulties, we did have a little fun today during academic intervention time, while we were furiously practicing division and multiplication skills in small groups. I taught my group the multiplying fractions song that I learned in sixth grade (and still remember!). It goes,

“Multiplying fractions,

that’s no problem!

First you do the top,

then you do the bottom!”

My kids were not impressed with the song OR my performance of it.  P., who seemed to have unlimited amounts of energy today and had been consistently driving me crazy, informed me that he would make up a much better version of the multiplying fractions song. He thought about it for all of 30 seconds and then performed, complete with hand gestures and plenty of attitude,

“Multiplying fractions, that’s EASY, y’all

First ya do the top

Then ya do the bottom


Just to clarify, he added that last “y’all” as kind of an afterthought.  But I really think it added a lot to the rendition.

2 Responses

  1. Excellent! You are certainly in the trenches working with the students. I like how you tried a song and failed only because it was not their style. No matter what style you used it would not have been for them. Then you allowed them to create their own song using your content! Excellent idea! Now they can learn what you were teaching using their style! That’s great teaching!

    • alwaysawildcat

      Thanks! I think I’m doing a lot more “trial and error” right now rather than great teaching, but as long as it helps them understand their math, I’ll take it!

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I used to be a journalist. Now I just quote students.

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