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Tips to Help Your Students Learn Division Vocabulary
When I was younger, I struggled for the longest time trying to remember which was the dividend and which was the divisor. I honestly had the “I don’t care” attitude. I wondered just why I had to learn it. I figured as long as I knew how to divide, that should be all that mattered.
Honestly, many, many years later, I still don’t know exactly why I had to learn it because I know which number gets written where. I know how to divide but I still have to teach the vocabulary and make sure students know what is what.
So, I came up with a few tricks of my own to help students out a bit.
The above image is a picture of my division anchor chart. It’s actually been edited a bit with PicMonkey so I could write on my sayings for you. My actual anchor chart (which is below) doesn’t contain the extra words or arrows, so it’s not as “cluttered.”
I always gather my students around and have them draw this. First I start with the top of the house. I tell students this is the Quotient. “The quotient is located in the attic with the queen.” I help students see that both queen and quotient start with a Q. They draw their queen in the attic and label it Quotient.
Then I move to the word Dividend. This one is the easiest for the kiddos, because it has two words in it- divide and end. Students always seem to notice words inside of words. I tell them, “you divide in the den.” You do not want to tell them that the bigger number goes inside the house, as that will confuse them later with decimals and other numbers.
Finally, I move to the word “Divisor.” I start by pulling out a visor hat – like one we wear in the summer time (or for poker games?). I show students what it looks like and how the visor of the hat is protecting my eyes. I explain that here (pointing at the visor part of the roof where it hangs over a bit) the divisor is being protected by the visor of the roof. (Plus this is a word part that you could really use as a starting point for discussing Greek and Latin Roots.)
Finally, I always point out the various ways that division is written – the fraction and using the symbol. However, it’s easier to start with the first method of drawing a “house” before teaching the others. Also make sure as you are explaining each word’s location, you are also explaining the meaning of the word in division.
Below is my actual anchor chart. A little boring, but less “cluttered.”
You should be able to download this “poster” sheet above by clicking here or on it. It will take you to Google Drive where you can download it without having to have a password or permission to access. If for some reason you are having trouble, email me so I can email it to you. Often people will request access through Google Drive/Docs and it will not allow me to email you back because of being a work email, so on. Instead email me directly please. (But really, it should work with no problems as I use a shareable link.)
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What tricks do you use to teach division vocabulary? I’d love to hear them in the comments below.
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