HALF Helping At-risk students Learn Fractions

Intervention - Small-group Instruction

Each day, students experience either a foundation lesson or an extension lesson during small group instruction. These lessons are facilitated by a teacher. Teachers often ask students to use the virtual manipulatives or the drawing space included in the Toolbox to complete activities during small group instruction.

Teachers receive recommendations about how to assign students to groups from the ITS. The ITS makes these recommendations using an algorithm that considers the content of the most recent tutorials that students completed as well as students' understanding of that content. The recommendations teachers receive from the ITS about group assignments are updated on a daily basis so that teachers can respond promptly to students' needs.

Foundation Lessons

Foundation lessons are designed to directly address students' misconceptions or incomplete understandings about foundational fractions skills. The format of most foundation lessons is a teacher-led discussion where the teacher poses questions to the group of students and provides scaffolding as needed. Virtual manipulatives, the number line, and other types of models are central to most discussions. Real-world contexts are also used during foundation lessons to reinforce the concepts being taught.

Extension Lessons

Extension lessons are meant to introduce students to advanced concepts while also applying their understanding of foundational skills to new contexts. There are two types of extension lessons. The most common type is the problem-based activity. These lessons begin with the teacher briefly introducing students to a real-world, multi-step problem and assigning students to work on the problem in pairs or in teams of 3 or 4 students. The second type of extension lesson is the mental math exercises. These lessons are discussion-based and require students to use estimation and mental math to reason about the answers to difficult problems.