Mastering Long Division: 5 Ideas to Support Learners


Are some of your students struggling to grasp the standard algorithm for long division? Fret not! These 5 ideas may be just what you've been looking for to boost the confidence and fluency of your students when tackling long division. Picture this - a classroom buzzing with excitement as students conquer long division. Dream big!

Before diving into the standard algorithm for division, students need a solid foundation in understanding the concept of division. Rather than jumping into the rote application using the algorithm, it might be beneficial to take a step back. Use manipulatives to represent the division process, use simpler numbers, and embed problems within relevant contexts. 

5 Ways to Support Learners with Mastering Long Division:

1. Scaffolding the Process: Do some of your students find multiplication hindering their grasp of long division? Introduce working template worksheets that target the division process. These differentiated templates offer varying levels of multiplication support, allowing students to concentrate on mastering the steps of long division without letting multiplication get in the way. 

Mastering Long Division

Here is another option for differentiated working templates for Teaching Long Division with 1 Digit Divisors.

2. Small Groups: Break down the long division process into manageable steps. In groups of four, assign each student a specific step in the process of long division (divide, multiply, subtract, bring down) and rotate through 4 problems. This collaborative approach gives students practice for each step, promoting a deeper understanding of the long division process.

3. Remove the Numbers: Start with word problems minus the numbers. Remove the numerical values and fill them in later to address the different readiness levels of your students. This strategy encourages students to discuss the problem-solving process without fixating on getting the correct answer. Look at the resources you already have and simply white out the numbers and get your students talking about the process first.

4. Color Code: Support students' understanding of the algorithm by color coding each step in a different color: divide, multiply, subtract, bring down. This is an effective strategy to support students if they get stuck because the color code system can provide a visual guide to help facilitate the process.

5. Math Mystery: Add an element of intrigue when practicing long division with fun, interactive activities like math mysteries. Students solve division problems and use the answers to eliminate suspects. Correctly solve the problems and declare the mystery solved. Get your FREE long division math mystery today!

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    Write On! - Elaboration Ideas

    Pencils with text: Elaboration in Writing
    Looking for ideas to help your students take their writing to the next level with elaboration? Here are 3 quick strategies to support students in expanding their ideas. 


    Students choose a sentence in their writing that they want to elaborate. Then students roll a dice and add that number of words to their sentences. This may seem like a simple strategy, but it can work like a charm with modeling and guidance. Students can add adjectives, adverbs, proper nouns, prepositional phrases, color words, or feeling words to expand their sentences.

    To model give all students the same sentence. Roll a dice. Have students add that many words to the sentence. Then have students share. Discuss the different ways students added to their sentences and how it would affect the reader.

    Dice with text: Expand a sentence


    For this strategy, students roll the elaboration cube to see how they are going to elaborate in their writing. Students can add a feeling word or color word. Students also can explain why, how, where, and when to help paint a picture in the reader's mind.

     Blue cube with text: Add a Feeling Word - Roll-a-cube

    Randomness can be a great motivator and fosters creativity when students have to determine how to weave new ideas into their writing. Click HERE for your copy of the elaboration roll-a-cube.


    This strategy has students connect ideas like LINKS in a CHAIN. Students look for undeveloped "links" in their writing. Then students think about how they can
    • explode an idea
    • clarify a point
    • provide evidence to strengthen their positions. 
    Students then create additional sentences that get "linked" like a chain to develop these ideas.
    Dog clipart with text: Elaboration: chaining

    What strategies do you use to help students incorporate elaboration in writing?

    Looking to elevate your students' personal narrative writing skills? This resource includes seasonal prompts, a graphic organizer, and a choice board designed for students to practice and improve key elements of narrative writing. Click here to see more actionable tips to support students in elevating their narrative writing.

    Get Students Talking Math

    How do we encourage mathematical discourse? Many students naturally enjoy talking, but how do we get them talking math?

    Fostering math talk is important. Sometimes students benefit from scaffolding or visual reminders. Question stems or prompts can be used as a scaffold until students can engage in math talk naturally. They also can be used to encourage conversations to go more deeply.


    These math spots can be used to spark conversations. Math spots can be displayed around the room or on a bulletin board. They can be added as a routine in small group instruction where students pick a spot to elicit math reasoning and metacognition. The spots can be used to model visible thinking during guided math. When students are problem solving with a partner, math spots can be used to encourage math dialogue beyond simply finding the answer.

    Here are three sites that can be used as a bell ringer or a launch where students can discuss their thinking and defend their reasoning. These might help integrate math talk at the start of your math block.

    Check these out:

    Would You Rather Math?
    Who doesn't like a would you rather question? The twist here is students have to justify their reasoning using mathematics. You can differentiate questions by grade level bands: K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12.  Scroll through to find a question that relates to your topic of study. Studying volume? Check out this swimming pool question: Would You Rather - Swimming Pool.

    Which One Does Not Belong?
    So many times in mathematics, students think there is one right answer. These puzzle-like questions require students to look at a problem through different lenses. No answer keys are provided because there are many correct answers. Students look at four shapes, numbers, or graphs, and choose one that does not belong, defending their reasoning of course. Differentiate the task by asking students to explain why two do not belong. Challenge students to find a reason why each one does not belong.

    Fraction Talks
    You can project an image, shade in a region, and ask students, "What fraction is shaded?" Students then can discuss their approaches and defend their thinking. Modeling this process can help scaffold the task for learners and set expectations. You can differentiate the task by asking questions like: Is there any other region representing the same fraction?

    How do you foster math talk in your classroom?


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