Throwdown Linky - Post It Note Division

Update 11/28
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Happy Thursday everyone!  It seems like it should already be Friday.  One three day weekend and I get so spoiled:)  Just in case you didn't check back in on Monday's post, Gus was found safe and sound!

While I was cruising through the weekend linky parties, I noticed that Erin from I'm Lovin' Lit was having a linky focusing on making learning more interactive.
Well, as I mentioned in Sunday's post, I have been playing around with an idea for long division.  My students are really struggling with long division.  We don't actually teach it in 6th grade, but we use it to convert fractions to decimals, probability,, they need to know how to do it.  This year's group keeps asking, "Where do the numbers come from?"  It really got me thinking back to my elementary years, and being totally bewildered by long division..."Where do the numbers come from," and "How did that get there?"  Let us be honest, there are a lot of numbers and moving of them involved in long division.  I still get lost if I have to stop in the middle of a problem.

This year's group really needs to move and interact, so I pulled out an OCD teacher's best friend - POST IT NOTES!  We tried it out this week, and it really clicked with some of my struggling boos.  They are still struggling with their division facts, but they understand the steps a little better.  It seemed as if they were able to see how the numbers lined up and where they came from with the POST IT notes.

1.   I started out by using one color for the divisor and another for the dividend.

 2.   We kept the quotient and the product the same color as the divisor.  Why?  Because my kids needed a visual reminder of how they are related.  Yellow is for the difference.

 3.  Then we physically picked up the next number in the dividend and moved it down next to the difference.  At this point, one of my kids incredulously shouted out, "That is where that comes from?"

 4.  Keeping the divisor, quotient and products the same color...

5.  We just kept moving down the dividend and carefully lining it up with the quotient.

6.  At the bottom, the last difference was the remainder.

This worked well on the whiteboard with large Post It notes for my small groups yesterday.  They were big enough that the students could easily see them and move them.

If I was working one on one, I would use the smaller Post It notes and construction paper.

As far as whole class/partner work, I am considering making number tiles and mats to make to make a real partner activity (to save on the Post It notes).

I even think that this could be adapted to work as a foldable in our Math Notebooks.  Maybe with the paper number tiles and a foldout....

This is one of those activities that you will have to refine and adapt for your classroom.  For example, with some students the different colors might be confusing.  My kids really liked the patterns that the colors made on the paper.   Play with it!

The MOVING of the numbers, having to line them up, and the color codes really helped them see the process. They loved it, and want to do more this week.  More long division?  Crazy!

Don't forget to link up at I'm Lovin' Lit with your interactive idea!  And don't forget to stop by and see what great interactive ideas other teachers are sharing!


  1. How totally cool are you? Ohhhh Ehmmm Geeeeee!!!!!! This is awesome! Thanks for sharing!

    Keep up the Mega Superstar work! This post is a gem!!!

  2. This is a great method for teaching those kids struggling with the standard algorithm! Pinning if I ever have to teach math again! ;)

    Fifth in the Middle

  3. OH MY WORD!! That is AMAZING! What a great way to teach division-definitely a great way to help visualize where all those numbers come from. Thank you SO much for sharing!!

    :) Kaitlyn
    Smiles and Sunshine

  4. OMG! I have been working on long division for a little over a week, and it is tough. We made an amazing foldable that helped my kids soooo much. I just wish that I had your idea when we started. The post-it notes idea is incredible! Totally pinning!!!! I blogged about my foldable a couple of days ago, if you wanted to check it out.

    Shenanigans in 6th Grade Math

  5. LOVE! This is probably my favorite TTD post so far!! So clever.
    ;) Erin
    I'm Lovin Lit

  6. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this idea! Pinning it for the future! Thanks for sharing.

    Mrs. Laffin's Laughings

  7. Just found you through your comment on not being able to comment on bloglovin. I'm having the same problem, but I'm your new follower! Have a great week!
    Pinkadots Elementary

  8. I love this! I am your newest follower of your blog! I am a 5th grade teacher and can really use this! i will have to try with my students! Thanks for sharing! Come on by and check me out sometime.

  9. This is awesome. The only thing I might add is writing a "ghost" number directly on the board where the post it you moved was so they don't get confused as to what the divisor was originally. :)

    Super idea I'm totally pinning.

    1. Thank you! I actually did that and with this bunch it was more confusing. They related to the colors. We just kept reading it aloud before each step.

  10. This is so cool. My son, who has Asperger's, is having such a challenging time grasping this concept. I am hopeful that this visual & kinestetci movement will help him learn the process…that it doesn't change with new numbers.

  11. This is great…my 11 year old son who has Aspergers, struggles with this. I am hopeful this will help him solidify the process having the visual & kinesthetic movement of the post its. I will show it to him this week. It was getting so that he'd rather wash the dishes than do division.

  12. My daughter (4th grader) is having such a hard time figuring out where the numbers go after dividing and can't remember when she needs to bring down the numbers... I'm going to try this out tonight during homework time! Thank you for the tip... Im sure this is going to be a help for us. :)

  13. This is so totally awesome! I'm definitely going to try it this way! I'm so EXCITED!