# Fractions with Fosnot and Flex Time

Remember last year when I told you all about Feast Week?  Well, it’s that time of year again, for fractions at least, but not–it seems–for Feast Week.  Instead, we’ve begun using some AMAZING new resources from Cathy Fosnot, that have helped our mathematicians think of fraction parts in a whole new way.

My favorite part of math right now is the addition of Fraction Flex Time (man, it seems like we need to add a cute name to every thing fraction related…).  After we finished the investigations in our Fosnot unit (which included figuring out the Best Buys, Oatmeal Problems and Gas Tank problems), our team sat down to figure out how to divvy up our kiddos between the 7 teachers we have (Yes, I said SEVEN!! Isn’t that FABULOUS!! ??), based on the information we’d gathered during our first few weeks of study.  We made the groups small and intentional, and we planned for intense teaching and practice.

Although the pacing and strategies are a little different based on the groups’ need, the goal is the same (based on our district rubric):

Just like I shared in my post about our visit from Kara Imm from Mathematics in the City, number strings have become our new best friend.  I mean, honestly, before this year I really didn’t spend much time on them, but now I am not sure I can go a day in math without one–they just have such HUGE bang for their buck.  Just the other day we spent 45 minutes doing a number string together.  It sounds like a long time, maybe, but in that 45 minutes (during which my small group of friends was TOTALLY ENGAGED!), we were able to touch on the clock model, common denominators, reducing fractions, equivalent fractions, improper fractions and mixed numbers.  So cool!

I have heard such positive feedback from my class since we’ve been doing flex time. Most mention that they love the small numbers, the focused nature of the lessons and the time they get to spend with the teacher.  I agree, friends, I’m loving all those things, too!

My favorite thing from our lessons lately  is all of the “lightbulb moments” that I can actually see happen.  It’s so great to see that look of AHA! on a kiddo’s face, and how often these moments even have a sound.  All of the “ahs” I’ve heard lately have definitely made my days.

What do you think about fractions?  How do you think you would react to Fraction Flex Time?  Do you think you’d like it?  Please leave your feedback. 🙂

# Torn

Yep.  It’s been almost a month to the day that I was last here.  Whoa, right?  And so as I begin, I feel like I should warn you now–this might turn into a real-life post, not one of those typical “here’s-what-we-did-and-here’s-why” kind of thing that you usually see around here.  I think I’m about to get real honest.  But don’t worry.  I’ll keep it clean.  There are kids around here, after all (well, and I guess if you really know me, I’d keep it clean anyway. 🙂 )!

So here’s the thing…right now I feel like I am being pulled in a million different directions.  All of them good directions, mind you, but different nonetheless.  And me being me, I want to do my absolute best at all of them.  And so…I’m torn.  What’s the most important thing?  How do I manage my time and resources to have time for that thing?  And then  how do I decide what that thing is?  Priorities are hard for me.  To me, they’re all important things.

In this season of life, I find myself being a wife, mother, teacher, grad student, blogger, ball juggler, plate-in-the-air-keeper, friend, daughter, and probably lots of other things I can’t even think of (because that list is already so long)!  And like I said, it is in my genes to want to do the best possible job I can in all of those things.  But that’s so hard!  Case in point: this blog.  Poor neglected blog.  Blog that I love. But because I’ve been working like crazy to do a great job at the other things on the list, the “blogger” part of me has been moved down the list of importance.  Also insert the fact that there is often just enough time to actually do the things I want to write about, and then no time to do the writing about those things!  I have at least 10 blog posts waiting to be written, pictures to accompany them, and loads of fabulous stories of the amazing things happening in my classroom right now, but again–where do I find time to tell you about them?  Probably the hardest part of this scenario is that besides writing for you, I write for myself–it’s like therapy, you know?–and so that part is missing for me right now, too.  But…I’m torn.  What has to give for that time to be made?  I can’t choose not to be a mom.  I can’t choose not to finish the homework for my school law class on time.  I can’t not get the plans ready for tomorrow at school.

I know what you’re thinking: stop whining.  Figure out how to make it all work in the time that you have.  Take some things off your plate.  Heck, you might even tell me to sleep less so I have more hours in my day (although, I hope that’s not your answer, because I’m really tired right now!).

But really–how do you make it all work?  How do you find time to do all the things you need (and want) to do without really just feeling like you’re doing  a crummy job at them all (and I’m really asking here, so hopefully you’re compiling the answer you’re going to leave me in the comments in a second when you’re done reading this)?  I want to work less, but when there’s a meeting before school, at plan and after school more days than not in a week, I have to bring my work home in order for it to get done.  But once I get home, I obviously want (and need) to be a wife and mom–dinner has to be made (as well as lunches for the next day), dishes and laundry have to be done, and if I’m lucky I will find time to snuggle with my favorite 2YO before she scoots off to bed at 7 and read with my favorite 1st grader before he’s asleep at 7:30.

Alright….I have lots of other things tumbling around in my brain right now, but every time I start to write them they seem like I’m just complaining–which is really the last thing I want to do.  Because really I don’t find any of this troubling in itself; many of the things on my list of “busyness” are things I do by choice.  I just want to find a way to do them all well, so that I don’t look back in the years to come and regret anything.  I don’t want to miss anything along the way or let anyone down….and so, I’m torn.  Is it possible to have it all?

I’m going to ask again, just so we’re clear that I want some feedback here (does it help if I say “please?”): How do you find the time to fit all the things you want and need to do into the time you have?  What structures do you have in place to help you be efficient with your time? How do you decide what’s important?  (And no, I can’t just quit my job and run away to Disney World.  But don’t think I haven’t considered that!)  What advice do you have for me as I sift through my long list of have-tos to find balance?

Thanks in advance for any help you can give me.  🙂  And yes, someday soon I hope to be able to come back and actually tell you about all those fabulous classroom-happenings.  But you know, by then the list will probably have doubled!