Sunday, November 10, 2013


Last year I wanted to include a few minutes during my math block for problem solving (a daily word problem). I was a little lazy, uncommitted not sure exactly how I wanted to organize this time. Did I want to print mailing labels with questions on them, then stick the labels in a journal and show their work? Did I want to actually do so much work for about 5 minutes of my lesson? Did I need a special problem solving mat? I just was not sure what to do, but I knew that I wanted to implement it and I decided to jump in with both feet.

Beginning in March, every day during the last 5 minutes of our math block my students got their dry erase boards, markers and socks (doubles as a eraser and a holder for the marker) and helped me/watched me write a word problem. Nothing too difficult at first-There are 4 dogs in the yard. 2 more dogs ran into the yard. How many dogs are there now? They would usually help me with a topic (dogs, cars, pizza) and watch me as I wrote it on the document camera. Then they would solve the problem by showing their work on their dry erase board (write it, hide it, show it).

That same year I was very surprised when during a lesson using word problems about fireflies and jars, they completely took over the lesson and students came up to the teacher cart with a friend and "told" a word problem while their friend used the yellow magnets (fireflies) and jar cut-out to solve the problems.

This school year I started early. I gather the students on the rug and write the problem using a dry erase board. I write the problem and they solve it. Then I ask every student to give me an answer and I write it on the board. In the beginning they gave answers ranging from 2 to 100 for a problem with the answer of 7. Now I am getting more correct or reasonable answers. After I get the answers, I draw a picture to solve it. It is a great way to close my math block.

I noticed the other day that students are beginning to write math problems and solve them on their own. It was quite an unexpected surprise for me. I now understand the power of modeling and repetition!
I have 4 cats. 1 went away. How many cats now? The answer is 3 and this student was writing multiple answers from students (exactly like I do, except my numbers are not backwards).

 I have 10 puppies. My dad (took) 3 puppies. How many do I have left?
Not the correct answer-but wow, great writing for November.

My Math Block- 1 hour
Number Talks 5-10 minutes
Ten Frames, Dot Cards

Whole Group Lesson 20-25 minutes
Math Tasks, Games

Math Centers 10-15 minutes
Kathy Richardson Centers

Problem Solving 5 mintues
Daily Word Problem

1 comment:

  1. Great work! You've given me something to ponder :-)
    Chrissy at ReadWriteSing


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