# An exciting way to teach decimals to year 5's?

Discussion in 'Primary' started by thedancingqueen, Apr 25, 2011.

1. ### thedancingqueen

I'm a trainee teacher on my final teaching placement and tomorrow I'm teaching them what each digit represents in decimals, rounding and ordering them (1dp, 2dp etc) and marking decimals on a number line. Does anyone know where I can get a number line to use on the whiteboard and how to make this lesson exciting? I have prepared worksheets but they seem really boring and I don't think it's going to stretch the higher group. I taught the class for a week before easter and the higher group found the work easy and got through it really quickly. I'd followed the advice from my teacher but they did much better than I had expected (it was coordinates work).

A good activity for the high ability would be to give them a picture of an abacus with spikes for tens, units and tenths. Given 3 beads to place anywhere on the abacus, how many different numbers can they make? i.e. 11.1, 30, 2.01 etc. This can then be extended to 4 beads or to an abacus with hundredths. They can list all their findings in order.

4. ### jo_south_yorks

To me that sounds like 3 or 4 or more lessons not one.
Place value and location on a numberline would link well so that could be put together into one lesson - using knowledge of place value to help them put the numbers in relation to each other. You can stretch the highers by including numbers with more decimal places - you may need to support them though and introduce extra vocabulary in a guided group rather than in the main input.
Even if they are an able group, don't fill the lesson with a lot of different concepts to contend with.
JSY x

5. ### thedancingqueen

Ah dear. I was hoping my plan would be alright. I emailed it to my teacher at the start of the Easter holidays and got no feedback. I've just followed the framework and have gone on gut instinct. It may be too packed. Not all children will be going beyond two decimal places. I have differentiated outcomes. I think some children will struggle even working to two decimal places and I don't think others will. The main focus is on place value and ordering decimals. I just thought it would be a good idea in the starter to mark them on a number line so that they could get a clearer idea of their value but they won't be doing this when they're doing their independent work. Does that not sound alright or should I simplify it? There's a massive range of abilities in the class.

6. ### minnieminxNew commenter

I think your lesson does sound fine, I think you have said before that they are a bright class.

Remember this won't be the first time they have met the topics, probably twice before at least.

Not all lessons need to be 'fun', sometimes quietly getting on with a worksheet is fine.

For those most able try numbers like 3.14, 3.4, 1.34, 1.3 and so on as they will get muddled as to whether 3.14 is bigger or smaller than 3.4. Don't just give them more decimal places, that doesn't make it harder.

This is an easy topic for the more able and so you will be fine leaving them alone.

Maybe ask for some ideas on the maths forum. They are mostly secondary teachers there, but will cover this topic in KS3 and are the experts at great ideas for fab maths lessons.

7. ### thedancingqueen

Today's lesson went alright but I was shocked at how much they struggled with decimals and how they didn't know what a tenth or a hundredth was. It's hard for me to work out what might be causing the problems for them because I can never remember a time when I found it hard or how I learned them myself. I wish I had some prior experience to draw on. I didn't stick to my lesson plan at all and I've been asked to teach what I planned to teach today, tomorrow. The reason I didn't stick to it is because we did an activity in the input which showed me how much they know and there was such a wide range of responses (they were just questions about decimals and place value) I thought I'd better start with the basics before worrying about number lines etc. I didn't want to overload them. Did I do the right thing? I don't know the class well still really so I try to adapt my planning as I go along if I feel it needs adapting.
I do enjoy teaching and I definitely want to be a teacher but I've only been teaching a day and I'm already exhausted and stressed. The class teacher is always there watching me (I know they have to be in the classroom) and giving me feedback and I put myself under a lot of pressure to teach good lessons. I'm off now to go over and try to improve what I have for tomorrow but I do get nervous and stress myself out. If I can find some way to cut down my workload each night and the time I spend on it, that would be lovely.

8. ### minnieminxNew commenter

LOL me as well and I've been at it for almost 15 years! First week back is ALWAYS exhausting!

From your posts on this site, you have all the right attitudes and abilities. You'll be fab!

9. ### thedancingqueen

Ah thank you for the praise! Some have told me before on here (because I ask so many questions) to consider if I'm entering the right profession but I'm asking because I care and want to do things well. I hate the thought of letting the kids, teacher and myself down so I do work at things until I'm confident I can do them well. It's a learning curve but it always will be a learning curve. It's only a three day week which I'm so thankful for! Easing me in gently. I'm teaching all day tomorrow for the first time. I just have to write a piece of homework and then I'm fully prepared (sheet for the children to fill in about how much rubbish their family produces in a week). I have no idea how to write it and set it out. I know it's not complicated but it's the first piece of homework I'll be setting (ever, even after doing two placements before) and I want to do a good job of it. Nerve wracking.

10. ### minnieminxNew commenter

Ignore those who say you are entering the wrong profession because you ask too much. How completely stupid is that?!

Remember though; brilliance is fine, perfection is not necessary!

11. ### thedancingqueen

I completely agree. I need to remember that! Thanks.

12. ### jo_south_yorks

You definitely have the right attitude for teaching and asking questions and wanting to improve your lessons for the children shows that!
Don't worry about not sticking to your plan today. Sometimes going completely away from your plan shows that you know what you are doing and it shows that you are continually assessing the responses from the children and assessing where they are and where they need to be. Sometimes we need to think on our feet and completely change the lesson we had originally planned, but we need to make sure they progress and make sure they understand what we are on about before we move on.
I remember I had an observation lesson on my last placement (I'm a 3rd year trainee that will qualify in summer), and I had completely misjudged the undertstanding of a concept, and so when i tried to apply it to a 'real life# situation', they were baffled and seemed to forget everything we had done, so I had to go back to basics. I physically put the plan down (I had a nack of holding it like a comfort blanket!) and said 'ok I want to make sure we are completely confident so I'm going to change what I had planned to do because I dont think we are ready for it'. I got more praise for doing that than storming along with the original plan and risking some not making progress.
Longer than I'd originally planned to post, but you've just got to have confidence in what you are doing!
JSY x