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Minilessons for Early Multiplication and Division Contents and Overview
Minilessons for Extending Multiplication and Division Contents and Overview


Minilessons for Early Multiplication and Division is a resource of 75 minilessons that you can choose from throughout the year. In contrast to investigations, which constitute the heart of the math workshop, the minilesson is more guided and more explicit, designed to be used at the start of math workshop and to last for ten to fifteen minutes. Each day, no matter what other materials you are using, you might choose a minilesson from this resource to provide your students with experiences to develop efficient computation. You can also use them with small groups of students as you differentiate instruction.

The minilessons in this guide were designed to be used in grades 3–4. Some of the minilessons use pictures of realistic situations, carefully crafted to support the development of specific strategies that can be helpful in automatizing the facts. Others make use of quick images with ten-frames and arrays. Flashed for only a few seconds, the images encourage children to give up trying to count each item and instead to use five-times and tentimes as helpful partial products. Other minilessons are crafted as a tightly structured series, or "string," of computation problems designed to encourage children to look to the numbers first, before they decide on a computation strategy. The strings are likely to generate discussion on certain strategies or big ideas underlying an understanding of early multiplication and division.

Minilessons for Extending Multiplication and Division can be helpful in grades 4–5 as students work with multiplication and division beyond the basic facts. This guide contains 77 minilessons structured as strings of related computation problems. They are likely to generate discussion of certain strategies or big ideas that are landmarks on the landscape of learning for multiplication and division, particularly using numbers with two and three digits.

Although the emphasis is on the development of mental arithmetic strategies, this does not mean learners have to solve the problems in their heads—but it is important for them to do the problems with their heads! In other words, as you use this guide, encourage students to examine the numbers in each problem and think about clever, efficient ways to solve it. The relationships between the problems in the minilesson will support students as they progress through the string. The open array is used throughout to represent student strategies.

Grades K–3
Grades 3–5
Grades 4–6