Friday, February 10, 2017

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

We have all heard of the song, Breaking Up Is Hard To Do by Neil Sedaka. If you aren't familiar with it, it goes something like this...

They say that breaking up is hard to do 
Now I know 
I know that it's true
Don't say that this is the end
Instead of breaking up I wish that we were making up again

I was so excited when I recently heard the song playing at a local restaurant I was dining at. It reminded me of a Valentine's Day math activity I created with another teacher a few years back. When I got to school the next day I began thinking how I could incorporate the activity with my small group of 4th grade math students, I realized how the activity pulled together so many different things the students were currently working on! For instance, the 4th grade students just recently wrapped up their reading unit on poetry, and are currently working on fractions in math. In addition, my 4th grade DEB group (which includes the same group of 4th grade math students) are learning how to write from other perspectives besides their own. Therefore, the activity I would introduce to them was the perfect fit!

The students were given a R.A.F.T. assignment. A R.A.F.T. is a writing strategy that helps students focus and communicate the message of their writing clearly. Through this activity students are given the opportunity to write creatively and from multiple perspectives. The acronym stands for:
Role of the Writer: Who or what is writing?
Audience: To whom are you writing?
Format: How is the writing being presented?
Topic: What are you writing about?

Here is the R.A.F.T. that was presented to my group of students.

*^Students were able to flip flop the Role and Audience^*

At first the students giggled and thought it was funny, but once they got started they realized how challenging the activity was. Most of the them really struggled on how to start, what to write about, and how to connect fractions to love. A funny task turned into a frustrating task for all. As the teacher I needed to take a step back and think about how I could break the activity down to help them. Therefore, we started by brainstorming what we knew about fractions and fraction words. Below is a picture of some things they came up with.

Next, the students worked as a group to brainstorm ideas for their poems. They jotted down fraction words that rhymed with love words, how it would feel to be broken into a fraction, etc...

Lastly, the students worked in pairs to create their poems. I was amazed at their creative ideas and the connections they made! The students really became engaged in helping each other out. By the end the students started to really enjoy and have fun with the activity! The best part was, was how proud they were of their poems, because they LOVED sharing them with others. The giggles I heard at the beginning of the activity, I heard once again at the end!


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