Planning a 5th Grade Adding and Subtracting Decimals Unit

You know the skills your students need to learn, but exactly how do you plan your lessons to ensure student success? Planning a successful math lesson may not take as much time as you think. In fact, with a solid system and routine, you can plan lessons in a snap. There are times when you may get stressed out when planning your adding and subtracting decimals unit. I am here to tell you that it is okay and I am here to support you.

Add and Subtract Decimals

In this blog, I am going to show you the format I use for planning division lessons for my fifth grade students. This lesson plan format helps me quickly and efficiently plan, while also helping my students master content and addressing my students with various needs.

Planning for Adding and Subtracting Decimals Whole Group

While we all know that small groups and differentiated instruction is beneficial for students, whole group instruction is still essential for teaching. Whole group is essentially the I do of your lesson. It involves your modeling and talking through the big concept or skill students will be practicing for that day. Try to limit your whole group instruction to 10-15 minutes. If you are interested in keeping your adding and subtracting decimal mini-lessons…well…mini- check out these math notes that will help streamline your lessons.

Math Notes

For example, you may start your division unit by discussing with students how division is the inverse of multiplication. You would model some examples of basic multiplication and division, such as using 10s. You will show several problems on the board and think aloud as you work the problems

Small Group Activities

After you have taught the larger concept during your whole group time, you want students to begin practicing the concept. Instead of moving directly into independent practice, you want to spend some time in small groups because it allows students to still have support. Especially with a new and challenging concept, students may need additional remediation.

For example, students could work with a partner or group to solve a few problems. You may also work directly with a group of students that you notice are struggling. 

Classwork and Homework

After the skill has been modeled and students have practiced with others (or received support), it’s time for them to showcase their skills. Through independent practice or classwork, students have the opportunity to practice further and display how much they know. The same goes for homework. 

The key, however, is that if you notice students’ struggling – don’t just leave them hanging. Show them where they can find support (such as an anchor chart or example in their journal). You may also choose to review the assignment with students, or give them the answers and have them work backwards.

Exit Tickets

The final aspect of a great division lesson is an exit ticket. This is a brief informal assessment that gives you immediate feedback on your students’ progress. The exit ticket should be short and sweet. It may ask students to solve a problem, ask a clarifying question, or rate how they feel about the lesson of the day. Adding some exit tickets to your adding and subtracting decimals will definitely help guide your lessons and recognize if your students understand the concept.

Want to focus on the teaching, not the planning?

I totally get it – that’s why I created an entire Guided Math Division resource. In this resource, you have access to eleven guided math lessons that include a mini-lesson, small group, classwork, homework, and exit slips. It also includes math notes and an end of unit assessment. Everything is done completely for you – even the lesson plan! All you have to do is print and teach. Grab the resource here.