Our Work with The Phantom Tollbooth Begins

Today we started our work with Norton Juster’s classic, The Phantom TollBooth. We did a lot of things to get us ready for this including careful observations of paintings by Salvador Dali (e.g, The Persistence of Memoryand a close reading of Abbott and Costello’s skit, “Who’s on First.” In addition we deconstructed how puns are largely based on homophones, homographs and idioms.

The hard work paid off and the student’s understanding of how author’s use word play to cause humor and confusion allowed for a successful launch of The Phantom Tollbooth.

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Our Focus on Fractions

A big part of having a successful 5th grade year is being able to add, subtract, divide and multiply mixed numbers and fractions. To the credit of the students, we are quickly marching through this content and the students are doing extremely well with the first part, adding and subtracting mixed numbers. This success, will allow us to then move to the operations, division and multiplication. Moreover, with the right foundation, students will enter the middle school years ready for rates, ratios and proportional reasoning.

DiscussionThe first two weeks with fractions was largely conceptual with students creating models on how to add and subtract fractions. Now, students are using more traditional algorithms—the way their parents learned—with a great deal of success.