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Innovation in Teaching Competition - Beyond the Textbook

Differentiated Learning with Decimals

Tori Sinco
Avery Elementary School
Cherokee County Schools

Grade Level and Content

5th Grade


This unit incorporates differentiated instruction and technology to help students master the fifth grade standard on adding, subtracting, and multiplying decimals. Following a pre-test at the start of this unit, the teacher forms groups based on each student’s ability and readiness. Throughout the unit, students engage in rigorous and authentic learning tasks, including: small-group instruction, math journaling, Kahn Academy, Edmodo math discussions, Mathcasting (student-created math videos), and QR code scavenger hunts. These activities both encourage students to work collaboratively and allow students to work at their own pace.

Standard Addressed



Available Materials

Unit Introduction
Unit Overview
Anchor Charts
Guided Math Rotations
Dump, Lump, Clump Problems
Grid Lock
Circuit Board Instructions
Math Journal Examples
Math Journal Rubric
Shopping Performance Task
Paving the Way Performance Task
Paving the Way QR Codes
The Grass is Always Greener Performance Task
The Grass is Always Greener Scale Diagram Information
The Grass is Always Greener Price Quotes

Video of Unit

> Download this Video (To save right-click then select 'Save target as' or 'Save link as')

About the Teacher

Ms. Sinco is currently a 5th grade teacher at Avery Elementary School in Canton, GA. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from Ashland University and a Master of Science degree in Education from Walden University. She was named Avery Elementary School’s Teacher of the Year in 2008. In 2014 she was selected to attend the Mickelson ExxonMobil Teachers Academy. Her best piece of teaching advice is to embrace differentiation, even if it pushes you out of your comfort zone.

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Disclaimer: The unit plans and materials on the Innovation in Teaching Competition website are aligned with Georgia’s standards through December 2014. English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics standards have been revised. The revised standards were approved by the State Board of Education on January 15, 2015. The revised ELA and Mathematics standards were renamed from the CCGPS to the Georgia Standards of Excellence (GSE).

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