Long Division SOL#12

Slice of life

When I was a student in third grade I remember thinking I was great at long division.  I always got stars on my papers and good test scores. Then I moved schools a couple of months into fourth grade and my teacher at my new school taught long division in a way that just didn’t make sense to me. She also required that we did our work her way.  It was my new fourth grade teacher that had me convinced that I was horrible at math. From that moment on, I hated math.

Now, here I am as a third grade teacher, introducing long division for the first time.  My school uses Everyday Mathematics which is pretty great (IMO).  At least for these first lessons, it allows students to explore different ways to solve story problems and number sentences using long division.  We discussed using the guess and check method, using a calculator, drawing pictures, solving it using the “Venezuelan long division way”, and FINALLY I brought up long division.  I made sure to emphasize that all of these methods are okay at the right time and place.

Everyone seemed happy to explore these different ways of thinking. I think it especially helped that the “Venezuelan long division” and the “American long division” were very similar.

To support their learning I posted a couple of videos from the Khan Academy on our class blog and asked them to watch them and solve one additional long division problem where they had to show their thinking.

This is one of those days when I realize how much of an impact being a teacher can have on the lives of my students! Hopefully I don’t scare any kids for life and make them think they are horrible at math!


11 responses to “Long Division SOL#12

    • I agree. We have been working up to this moment. Some of the went to their parents last night because drawing stuff and using manipulatives takes, “too long”. I love that it got the parents involved and then we had students providing different ways to solve problems today.


  1. There is definitely a risk of that when you teach math, I think. It sounds to me as if you’re doing a wonderful job of it. I don’t think you have to worry about kids hating your math.So many ways of approaching it!


    • We have a lot of, “Can you explain your thinking”; “Do you think you can do it another way?”; “Is there a faster, more efficient way to solve the problem?” I only wish I had more time for math!


    • I honestly hated math until I was in grad school and learned how math should have been taught. Now it is one of my favorite subjects to teach…even when I come up against my nemesis named Long Division.


  2. Hi, Amanda! You left a post on my slice about “finding Mr. Right.” Thank you! I teach 4th grade in Indiana. We also use EDM. Partial quotients does make division easy to understand. We are transitioning into the standard algorithms. So interesting to know you are a traveling teacher. How exciting! D 🙂


  3. That’s a very great way of teaching math. Many people teach math as a subject to train students’ discipline rather than their creavity, which is wrong, in my opinion. One of the stupidest things I heard some teachers said about math is that “there is only one solution”. Once you started studying higher math, there are literally dozens of approaches to solve a problem, especially in advanced number theory and combinatorics.

    During middle school, my algebra teacher failed me because I didn’t give a damn when he said that my methods are “incorrect” (since I tend to use many shortcuts in my calculations and he’s not happy with it). However, since I always compete and win on several math competitions during those days, our principal was bemused when she learned that I failed my math exam, so she ordered to recheck my exam and they found out that all of my answers were correct and the rest, well…


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