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Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Rounding the corner

This week has been, and will continue to be, pretty messy. We're giving Benchmark tests (or as I call them, the dreaded BMs) through Thursday, and that really throws a monkeywrench into our teaching time.

So I haven't had as much time to work with the kids as I normally would. However, I have been really pleasantly surprised by how well my kids are getting the concept of rounding, especially given the shorter class periods.

Yesterday, I introduced it to them, and, as is often the case, they acted as if they had never in their entire lives heard the words "Estimating," "Estimation," "Rounding," or "Math." (OK, Math they had heard of.) We started discussing why anyone would want to use numbers that weren't exact, as in the case of shopping. I read them a story about 2 kids using estimation to win a jelly bean counting contest. The story was called, "Betcha," and I had to carefully state up front that this was short for, "I'll bet you -- like they are making bets with each other." I didn't want the kids who hear me say the word, "Beach," and start giggling and oohing and aahing telling their parents I was cussing them out again.

Anyway, once we actually started talking about tens and how to find the closest ones in front and behind the numbers we were using, and then how to decide which of THOSE was actually closest -- things went INCREDIBLY smoothly! With only 1 or 2 exceptions, these kids got it! They were doing the steps, they were rounding correctly. They really got into the whole "Punch it up" strategy.

1 of the kids who struggled didn't understand that the rounded number needed to have a 0 in the ones place, and he was trying to round 27 to 37 or 81 to 71. But even he got the concept down today.

I tried to fool them by giving them tricky numbers to round, like 95. Typically, a lot of kids will tell me that 95 is between 90 and 10 (forgetting that other 0). Not a single one of them was fooled. I gave them 7 to round. They knew that the closest tens were 0 and 10 (usually the 0 hangs them up at first).

It was fantastic. So much so, that even in the short class period, I introduced rounding to hundreds yesterday. When we started practicing tens AND hundreds today, they remembered all of the steps and all of the strategy. It was great!

My homeroom still continues to waste a lot of time by playing and making noises and not listening when I talk, but that's another issue. At least I feel fairly confident that rounding is not going to hold them up. At least not until the big test, I estimate.

1 comment:

Amy @ Juice Boxes + Crayolas said...

LOVE the punch it up strategy! thanks for the link! I was reviewing rounding with my 5th graders today, and you'd think by the 4th or so year learning it they would have FINALLY mastered it! Not so...I will come in tomorrow armed and ready to "punch" up some numbers! :)