Stacey’s Slice of Life Story: Day #18

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How do you get kids to remember to add the remainder, not multiply the remainder, when they’re checking their work?

Well, I think I found a way while I was teaching today. (I never did this when I taught fifth grade, but I think it worked for fourth grade today.)

Once I saw that my students were unsure of what to do with the left overs (aka: the remainder) when they checked their work by multiplying today, I suggested that we create a “Remainder Monster.” First I drew the face, then the eyes, then the big open mouth. Then I said, “Go ahead and draw one in your math notebook!”

They did.

I waited. Then I came out with something that was either totally ridiculous or ingenious… not sure which yet. I added a speech bubble that said, “Never multiply me! Add me.” Then I paused. I wanted to go for the home run rather than just staying on third so I added, “or I’ll eat you!” to my Monster’s speech bubble. They laughed. I encouraged all of them to create their own scary Remainder Monsters in their books so that they could remember to add the remainder, not multiply the remainder when checking.

Remainder Monster
This not-so-lovely drawing was cut out and scanned from today’s math chart.

Tomorrow, when we move on with division, we’ll see if this “monster,” of which they all created one in their notebooks, worked to help them remember what to do (and what not to do). I HOPE SO!