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Differentiated Learning With Decimals

Innovation in Teaching Competition: Tori Sinco from Avery Elementary School

Grade Level

Fifth Grade

Content Area/Instructional Strategy


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, Khan 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.

Standards Addressed

M.5.NBT.7 Add, subtract, multiply, and divide decimals to hundredths, using concrete models or drawings and strategies based on place value, properties of operations, and/or the relationship between addition and subtraction; relate the strategy to a written method and explain the reasoning used.

About the Teacher

Tori Sinco
Avery Elementary School
Cherokee County Schools

Ms. Sinco is currently the Instructional Lead Strategist for Sixes Elementary School in Cherokee County. In this role, she works with the teachers in an instructional coaching setting to build capacity and increase student achievement. Ms. Sinco entered the teaching profession in 2001, following in the footsteps of her mother, who was a public school teacher for 30 years. She was named Avery Elementary School’s Teacher of the Year in 2007. In 2014, she was selected to attend the Mickelson ExxonMobil Teachers Academy. Her advice to a new teacher would be to realize that, even if you have finished your degree, learning should never end. Always read, study, and strive to learn more. Ms. Sinco holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from Ashland University and a Master of Science degree in Education from Walden University.