The Best of THE MAILBOX-Grades 4-6 by The Education Center TEC61169

Language Arts Spotlight – Punctuation

Provide the perfect remedy for punctuation problems by making colorful copies of the prescription forms on page 48. Give each child a copy of the form and a paragraph or story written by one of his classmates. Have the student read his classmate’s work and use the form to identify any punctuation mistakes and to explain how to correct them. Then have him sign and attach the form to the paper and return it to the author for corrections.
Kim Minafo, Dillard Drive Elementary, Raleigh, NC

The Fractions Speedway
Keep students’ basic fraction skills on course with these action-packed maneuvers!
by Melissa Bryan, Valley Forge Middle School, Wayne, PA

Sample PDF Activity

Rarin’ to Reduce!
Identifying and writing fractions in simplest form You’ll cause a race to the starting line with this simplifying fractions activity! On chart paper, list simplified fractions such as those shown. Next, give each child a large handful of small different colored manipulatives, such as gram unit cubes, color tiles, or Unifix cubes. Announce any manipulative color. Have each student find what fraction of his manipulatives is that color and then mentally reduce that fraction to its simplest form. If his simplified fraction is listed in the chart, have him write its unsimplified form in the matching row. Discuss any fractions students could not list on the chart and why (fractions were already in simplest form or represented an uncommon fraction, such as 2⁄11). Repeat the process four times to generate as many different equivalent fractions as possible. Then display the chart as a ready reference.

Fraction Bow Ties – Comparing fractions
Refuel students’ understanding of comparing fractions with a shortcut method that will have them looking quite dapper! Demonstrate the bow tie method using the fractions and directions shown. Then give each child a loop of masking tape and a large, colorful bow tie cutout. Instruct the student to write on her cutout two fractions and then tape the bow tie to her clothing. Next, have her walk around and copy ten problems from her classmates’ bow ties onto a sheet of paper. Afterward, instruct her to return to her seat and compare the fractions using the shortcut method. When she’s done, have her compare the fractions on her own bow tie. After you check it, have her pin the cutout to a bulletin board titled as shown. Once all of the bow ties are in place, students can check their ten problems by looking at the board!

The Bow Tie Method

1. Multiply the first fraction’s denominator by the second fraction’s numerator. Record the product on the right.
2. Multiply the second fraction’s denominator by the first fraction’s numerator. Record the product on the left.
3. Compare the two products. Write “<,” “>,” or “=” between the fractions.

About The Education Center, aka the The MAILBOX®

The Education Center, aka the The MAILBOX®, was founded in 1973 by Marge and Jake Michel. Like many other educators, they were frustrated by the lack of practical, ready-to-use materials for the classroom. So they created several products in their spare time, and the company grew from there. Countless teachers have contributed to The MAILBOX® for more than 30 plus years. Some teachers are so excited about the opportunity to create ideas for other teachers that they join our staff in Greensboro, North Carolina.

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