Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Word Solutions?

In my last post, I was concerned about my choices for word problems in math. Today, I got a unique word solution. One of my classes of students with learning disabilities has extreme difficulty with math vocabulary, so we are constantly drilling as we progress through math problems.

One of today's examples was a fraction. I pointed to the numerator and said, "What is this called?" The class called out "Fraction" in unison. I said, "Yes, the whole figure is called a fraction, but what is the top number called?" After a ridiculous amount of discussion my students finally had the terms "numerator" and "denominator" down. I ended with, "And what is the whole thing called again?"

Blank stares. During the course of three minutes, they had forgotten the word fraction. All of them. They began calling out guesses ("division?" "whole number?" "nectar?")

I tried to prompt them, "Come on guys, you know this. Don't make it more difficult than it is. What is the term for a numerator and denominator put together."

One student raises his hand in such an assured way I think I can finally breathe again and believe I might be a successful teacher. Then in a serious voice, he asks "Is it called a numeranominator?"

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