The April calendar pieces introduced fractions to the children. The number one was a whole, the number two has a half, the number three was a third, and the number four was a fourth. We played around with these through April, talking about how much you would have if you added two halves, etc. With some strong basic knowledge about fractions in our math schema (memory) we broke out the fraction skittles and started comparing fractions! Is 2/3 less than or greater than 1/2. The children also used fractional pizzas with the fraction written in its traditional form.
We are at the point now, where not everyone can read a fraction, for example, look at it and say '2/3' but most of the children can use the skittles and the pizza cards to build 2/3.
One of the benefits of our program is that the materials are always on the shelf. The children are not forced to work on a topic to mastery, but have the ability to come back time and time again and try it. Without a great amount of stress attached to the work, children slowly grow confidence with a topic and eventually mastery! Concrete mastery - not just memorization!