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):

Screen Shot 2013-11-19 at 9.03.25 PMJust 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. 🙂


6 thoughts on “Fractions with Fosnot and Flex Time

  1. Can I come teach at your school????? I SO WISH we would collaborate with each other! This is the collaboration I was faced with last Friday afternoon after school when a teacher stopped by my room and saw me grading my 6th graders’ writing:

    “It’s good that you are doing all that and trying, but I’m NOT going to do it. I don’t have time, and I gave up my personal life years ago for teaching and I’m NOT doing it again. Common core will just change again one day. My 3rd graders can’t do this kind of stuff.”

    VERY hostile. Like I had been the maker of common core. What???????????????

    Like I said-I SO WISH we collaborated at our school. It seems that everyone is on their own little island doing their own little thing.

    And by the way-since your post is all about fractions… We are dividing fractions by fractions. Simple to calculate. Find the reciprocal and multiply. They get that! BUT OMG! Drawing picture models to see how many 4/5 will fit inside of 1/2? Oh. My. Word.



    • Um, YES! You can come teach with me. Let’s start working on that plan, ok?

      And as for dividing fractions…we’re about to start that part of this unit next week. Our new resources this year include another Fosnot unit about parks and playgrounds. It teaches kids (and US!) how to use area models to show multiplication and division of fractions. Last year, during our Feast Week fun, we did a lot of work with stories (so that our thinking was around a context, not just isolated numbers) as well as using a fraction bar to show that thinking. I looked and looked and I CANNOT find anywhere that I wrote about it, nor do I have any pictures of it. Think of an open number line, where you can share parts of parts…

      How long are you working on this? Maybe there’s a way we can tutor each other online or something…

      Thanks for your comment, friend! 🙂

      • Well, since we’re already behind (WAAAAY behind), we will finish on Friday. However, I’ve got to figure out a way to keep them reviewing skills.

        And I’m telling you my kids are LOW in thinking about math!


  2. I’m still thinking about your blog yesterday ….:) It was a soul searcher!

    But, with regards to all of these new fraction tools, they’re pretty cool. And, fun!

  3. Pingback: Things I Learned on My Summer Vacation | 20somethingkids and 1kookyteacher

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