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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Beginning of the Year Math Instruction - Grade 4

The first few days of math instruction are critical to student success. Which activities provide the best building blocks for fourth graders?

It's taken me a while to get it right. Now it's time to share with you!

First, let's take a look at the major concepts and skills learned by fourth graders. The statements listed below come from the Common Core State Standards, which represent topics in a typical fourth grade instructional plan.

Operations & Algebraic Thinking
  • Use the four operations with whole numbers to solve problems.
  • Gain familiarity with factors and multiples.
  • Generate and analyze patterns.
Number & Operations in Base Ten
  • Generalize place value understanding for multi-digit whole numbers.
  • Use place value understanding and properties of operations to perform multi-digit arithmetic.
Number & Operations - Fractions
  • Extend understanding of fraction equivalence and ordering.
  • Build fractions from unit fractions.
  • Understand decimal notation for fractions, and compare decimal fractions.
Measurement & Data
  • Solve problems involving measurement and conversion of measurements.
  • Represent and interpret data.
  • Understand concepts of angle and measure angles.
  • Draw and identify lines and angles, and classify shapes by properties or their lines and angles.
Which of these standards represent the building blocks of fourth grade mathematics? Yes, mastery of Number & Operations in Base Ten is prerequisite to nearly all other fourth grade concepts. In my experience, fourth graders need two things for a successful start in math: understanding of place value and fluency in addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division facts. This is where I begin.

I've created a short PowerPoint presentation that explains how I use products from my Teachers pay Teachers store and some free apps to successfully begin instruction in my fourth grade math class. Beginning of the Year Math - Grade 4 is now available for free! Over the next few days, I'll discuss the first days in my math class in this blog as well.