Preparing Students for Grade 3, Module 1, Topic F

Anticipatory fluency bolsters previously learned skills so they can be easily applied to upcoming lessons.  One to two minute whiteboard exchanges and/or choral responses are catalysts for these drills, which begin easy and - over the course of several days or weeks - become increasingly more complex.

Adhering to the philosophy Isolate skills when needing concentration and creativity the most, teachers create a plan so their students are prepared for higher order thinking by the time the lesson is taught.

In the example on the right, the forward-looking teacher might conclude that the Distributive Property of Multiplication task has several complicated formats that are unfamiliar or brand new to the students.  Still, they’re confident that most, or all, of their students can find missing parts of number bonds and solve simple missing addend and factor problems.

The real challenge comes from connecting the number bond to a missing addend to parenthetical multiplication sentences back to a new addition sentence, all the while using tens, which is an abstract units.

So, two weeks before delivering this lesson, the teacher plans the following anticipatory whiteboard exchanges, devoting 30 seconds to one minute for each:

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Whiteboard exchange I.

Whiteboard exchange I.

Whiteboard exchange II.


Whiteboard exchange III.

Whiteboard exchange III.

Each day, of the first week, they change numbers and units to build student confidence.

Then, during the five lessons that precede the Distributive Property of Multiplication lesson, they weave the three formats together (See image on right).

By the day of the lesson, the students have mastered each of the basic formats and can connect between them.

They are now prepared for added complexities in which they’re required to think flexibly and apply understandings of several different formats to solve problems.  (See image below).

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