We were privileged to be able to deliver a 2-day Fractions CPD Seminar for NCETM’s East & North London Maths Hub.
With the first session already completed, we covered many aspects of fractions, in particular, progression in teaching fractions and the use of hands-on approaches to visualise the maths. The first question we asked was, “What, on Earth, is a fraction!?”
What is a fraction?
As you can see above, a variety of responses from our delegates. After agreeing on a definition for fractions, the real fun began! Delegates were asked to explore and investigate using a variety of resources and questions, in which a deeper conceptual understanding of fractions began to unravel.
One of the key features in this Primary Fractions CPD was the use of journals in everyday lessons. Lessons on fractions give teachers many opportunities to use journals effectively. Use of journals to show a child’s thinking and reasoning skills is consistently used in Singapore and is a great way to assess where your pupils are in the topic. Using journals as a form of formative assessment allows teachers to pick out common misconceptions early and address them for next lessons. Journals also do two things really well. Firstly, they allow us direct access to a child’s mind to see what they are thinking. Do they REALLY understand what they have been taught or is it just another “rule” that they are following? Can they see connections and describe them? Can they see any patterns, can they make a generalisation? Can the pupils tell you a story about a question and give the abstract some context? Or are they just so used to procedures that they can’t go beyond this and therefore find it very challenging to porblem solve?
We ended the first part of our journey by looking at mixed numbers and improper fractions. We found it incredibly easy to solve mixed number questions when using concrete or pictorial models but time consuming and challenging, to teach, when looking at the more formal approaches.
Primary Fractions CPD Verdict
Overall, the first day of the two day seminar was a sucess and with majority of the delegates giving the session a 5* rating, we look forward to seeing everyone again in the near future for day 2!