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Ideas of how to teach Long Division

As presented in an earlier posting, there is another way to approach long division.  However, since many of you are required to present it the long way, here are a couple of ideas to make it easier for your students.

First of all, have the students use graph paper.  The squares help to keep the numbers aligned which seems to be a problem for many students.  If you don't have graph paper, you can download free templates at Donna Young's Free Graph Paper and make your own.  I like the idea of separating the problems with lines to ensure there is no cross over from one problem to another.



Secondly, try using the acronym (a mnemonic device) of Does McDonald's Sell Cheese Burgers.  I have see this acronym many times on Pinterest, but usually the C is omitted.


Check means that after the student has subtracted, they should check to see if the remainder is smaller than the divisor.  If it is equal to or larger than the divisor, then enough was not taken out of the dividend.  This is a step often skipped when long division is taught; yet, if the student doesn't check and make the needed correction, the answer (quotient) will be wrong.

In order to learn division, the student must first have a good understanding of multiplication. Students don’t need to perfectly know all of the times tables, but a majority of the facts or having a reasonably quick strategy to figure out the answer is necessary.

Start by practicing division using the number series the students can easily skip count such as 2 and 5. Then gradually move up to nine. After that, move to division by double digit numbers using 10 since most students know how to skip count by 10. Once the concept is understood, teaching division will become more about guided practice to help your child to become comfortable with the division operation which, in reality, is a different kind of multiplication practice.

A Go Figure Debut for a New Jersey Teacher Who Is New!

Anna's TPT Store
Anna has been teaching Kindergarten for the past five years. Prior to that, she had taught first grade classroom for two years. Although she loves both grade levels, Kindergarten seems to be where her heart really is; which she still finds humorous since it was always the grade level Anna thought she would never want. She finds it very rewarding to see the growth demonstrated by each child from the beginning to the end of the school year. She loves seeing her students actively engaged in learning and enjoys all of the opportunities she has to include hands-on activities and crafts into her lessons. Her classroom is bright, colorful, and welcoming. Anna describes herself as a very positive and hands-on teacher who tries her best to allow her students to enjoy their time in her classroom.

Anna lives in New Jersey and just experienced the Nor'easter which brought lots of snow and power outages to her neck of the woods. She loves animals (especially dogs); she is also a coffee lover and adventure seeker, and she loves to travel. This past summer she went to Sicily to visit her grandmother and while she was there, she did a lot of sightseeing. In fact, Anna has been all over Europe, and would go back in a heartbeat. Besides teaching kindergarten, Anna loves to read and write and is constantly looking for opportunities to be creative. 

Anna currently has 175 products in her Teachers Pay Teachers store called Kinder Tykes, and 16 of them are free. The overall content of her products is relevant to grades K-1, including a vast variety of sight word products, math and literacy centers, seasonal crafts and classroom management products.

Free Resource
Her highlighted free resource is a Think Sheet for Classroom Management. This resource  allows your students to think about their behavior and how to make better choices next time. It is also a great way to keep parents informed of their child's behavior. There is a space provided for the parent to sign and return the sheet for you to keep on file and refer back to if the behavior persists. What a great way to hold your students accountable for their choices and actions!

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Her featured paid resource is Sight Word Printables. These sight word worksheets are perfect for morning work, busy work, or to supplement your daily sight word practice. In this download you will receive 92 worksheets, each focusing on a specific sight word. The child will trace, color in, find, write, and cut and paste the word.

Words included in this packet are: the, too, and, a, I, you, it, in, for, said, look, up, go, is, we, little, down, can, see, not, one, her, me, big, come, blue, red, where, jump, away, here, help, make, yellow, two, play, run, find, three, funny, he, was, that, she, on, they, but, at, with, all, there, out, be, have, am, do, did, what, so, get, like, this, will, yes, went, are, now, no, came, ride, into, good, want, too, pretty, four, saw, well, ran, brown, eat, who, new, must, black, white, soon, our, say, ate, under, and please.

Why not take the time to visit Anna's store and peruse her quality resources? You will find that her products reflect her goal of making learning fun and memorable! 

Pi Day Is March 14th!

March 14 is Pi Day because March is the third month, and with 14 as the day, we get the first three digits of pi - 3.14! On Pi Day, nerds, geeks, and mildly interested geometry students alike come together and wear pi-themed clothing, read pi-themed books and watch pi-themed movies, all the while eating pi-themed pie. 


Pi is an irrational number that approximately equals 3.14. It is the number you get if you divide the circumference of any circle by its diameter, and it's the same for all circles, no matter their size. You can estimate pi for yourself by taking some circular things like the tops of jars or round plates and measuring their diameter and their circumference. Then divide the circumference by the diameter, You should get an answer something like 3.14. It should be the same every time (unless you measured wrong).  In other words, π is the number of times a circle’s diameter will fit around its circumference

Actually, 3.14 is only approximately equal to pi. That's because pi is an irrational number. That means that when you write pi as a decimal it goes on forever and ever, never ending. (It is infinite.) Also, no number pattern ever repeats itself.

Usually in math, we write pi with the Greek letter π, which is the letter "p" in Greek. You pronounce it "pie", like the pie you eat for dessert. It is called pi because π is the first letter of the Greek word "perimetros" or perimeter.  What is interesting is that in the Greek alphabet, π (piwas) is the sixteenth letter; likewise, in the English alphabet, the letter "p" is also the sixteenth letter.

But hold your horses!  The fascination with pi isn't restricted to just mathematicians and scientists. Pi has a special place in popular culture, thanks to its frequency in mathematical formulas and its mysterious nature.  Even T.V. shows, books, and movies can’t help but mention π.

For example, pi gets mentioned in a scene from Twilight, in which vampire-boy Robert Pattinson recites the square root of pi.  In an episode of the Simpsons, two young girls at a school for the gifted play patty-cake and say “Cross my heart and hope to die, here’s the digits that make pi, 3. 1415926535897932384…” 

Yep, whether you like it or not, pi is everywhere. Here are a few more places it has popped up:
  1. The main character in the award-winning novel (and 2012 film) Life of Pi nicknames himself after π
  2. A circular room in the Palais de la Découverte science museum in Paris is called the pi room. The room has 707 digits of pi inscribed on its wall. (The value of pi has now been calculated to more than two trillion digits.)
  3. In an episode of Star Trek: The Original Series, Spock commands an evil computer to compute π to the last digit which it cannot do because, as Spock explains, “The value of pi is a transcendental figure without resolution.”
  4. Pi is the secret code in Alfred Hitchcock’s Torn Curtain and in The Net starring Sandra Bullock.
Here is more arbitrary information related to pi that I found interesting.
  1. If you were to print one billion decimal values of pi in an ordinary font, it would stretch from New York City to Kansas (where I live). 
  2. 3.14 backwards looks like PIE. 
  3. "I prefer pi" is a palindrome. (read the same backwards as forwards)
  4. Albert Einstein was born on Pi Day (March 14) in 1879.
And let's finish this post with a couple of π jokes.

If you divide the circumference of the sun by its diameter, what will you have? Pi in the sky! 

What do you get if you divide the circumference of a jack-o'-lantern by its diameter? Pumpkin pi! 

On Pinterest, I have a board devoted to pi called "Life of Pi."  If you go there, you will find many cartoons, jokes and ideas to use for pi day. And to add to the fun, go to the website entitled “The Pi-Search Page” to find your birthday written with the digits of pi.

By the way, notice my "handle" of Scipi.  The Sci is for science (what my husband teaches) and the pi is for π because I teach math.

The Long and Short of It - Two different ways to do long Division

My remedial college math class is currently working on fractions. (Yes, even many college students don't understand them!) When we discussed how to change an improper fraction to a mixed numeral, long division came up. I showed the class a shortcut I was taught many years ago (approximately when the earth was cooling) and none, no not even one student, had seen it before. I wonder how many of you are unfamiliar with it as well? First let's look at long division and how most students are taught today. We will use 534 divided by 3.

Now if that doesn't make your head swim, I don't know what will. Everything written in the third column is what the student must mentally do to solve this problem. Then we wonder why students have trouble with this process. There is another way, and it is called short division for a reason. This is the way I learned it.......
I don't know about you, but I would rather have my students doing mental math to solve division problems than writing everything out in the long form. And the paper and frustration you will save will be astounding! So what will it be.....long division or short division?

Divisibility Rules Resource
As a Side Note: Since many students do not know their multiplication tables, reducing fractions is almost an impossible task. The divisibility rules, if learned and understood, can be an excellent math tool. This resource contains four easy to understand divisibility rules and includes the rules for 1, 5, and 10 as well as the digital root rules for 3, 6, and 9. A clarification of what digital root is and how to find it is explained. Also contained in the resource is a dividing check off list for use by the student. If you are interested, just click under the resource title page.