We recently finished a Unit on Place Value in Math. While students are exposed to Place Value in earlier grades, they make a giant leap in fourth grade. They need to be able to read, write, compare, order and round numbers to the nearest 100,000. This is the first time students are working regularly with such large numbers.
One of the most difficult concepts (CCSS 4.NBT.1; 4.NBT.2) asks students to "recognize that in a multi-digit whole number, a digit in one place represents ten times what it represents in the place to its right." To examine this concept, I worked with students in small groups using Base Ten Blocks. Using the place value blocks, students could clearly see the relationship. Students worked very hard to understand this concept.
Before the actual test day there were Quick Checks along the way including a Review Day. When I corrected the tests I was SHOCKED at the results. I couldn't understand how the majority of students scored between 63-76!
The numbers incorrect certainly didn't match the formative assessments that were done throughout the unit. My colleagues shared how they gave the tests back to their students to correct only those answers that were incorrect - no reteaching - just a second chance and suggested I do the same. So I passed back the test and asked students to correct their answers and write the new answers in colored pencil. EVERY student did better. The results below show the drastic difference.
The students were thrilled to have the second chance and were pleased with the results as well. While I love the idea of letting students review their work, somewhere in the back of my mind I hear my dad saying "Measure twice, Cut once!". The Common Core Mathematical Practice #6 states that students attend to precision:
But how do we instill the "measure twice, cut once" habit the first time around? Is it through more practice? Is it through showing the difference between "try #1" and "try #2"? Would love to learn how you teach 'Attending to Precision?'
Practicing what I preach: "We all learn from our mistakes" means I'll continue to give my students their "Second Chance!"