This is my 9th year teaching elementary school and by far the most challenging because many of my students are afraid of math. I have been encouraging them to continue to try even though the material is difficult for them. Last week I told the students that we were going to begin division, before I could get the word division out of my mouth one student yelled, ” I don’t know how to do division!” I began to look around the room and I could see that most of the students agreed and began mumble the same words underneath their breath. I paused for a moment and I told them, ” Never fear Miss Williams is here!” I reassured them that they would learn how to solve division problems and it would not be anything like 3rd grade.
In after school tutorials I introduce division without remainders to my tutoring students. I taught them how to use a t-chart for their multiplication facts. After tutoring they were feeling very confident. Fast forward 2 days later, I began to teach my students how to divide using the steps to division. I could see the frustration beginning to set in after working several problems together. I stopped my students and told them to copy the first stanza of the the division rap. The first stanza was:
I gotta lil story I would like to tell
“Bout the steps of division that I know so well
It started way back in history
With a problem that I thought was a mystery
There were four lil steps that went ’round and ’round
Divide, Multiply, Subtract and Bring Down!
I recited the rap and I could then see my students’ faces light up. They were so excited! I explained to them that the rap will them work through the steps of division. I also said that I wrote this rap for a 5th grade math class that was having a difficult time learning how to divide , just like them, and that after they learned the division rap they solving division problems were not as difficult as they thought.
My class and I recited the first part of the division a few more times before it was time for them to switch classes, but one thing I noticed is that even though division may be difficult for them my students were now focused on the tool which will motivate them to learn how to divide. I must say it was a great feeling to see them smile!
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