# Problem Solving in Guided Math Groups: Part 2

Teaching problem solving in math groups makes sense because we want students to talk about their problems and think about them outloud. We want to hear what they are saying and how they are making sense of the problems. We want to listen for their strategies and see if they are efficient or not. We can do this in small groups in a better way than trying to hear our students in the whole group.

Working problem solving into the math routine: 3 Suggestions

- Do a problem of the day that the students solve in their journal and that you go over with them.
- Do group problem work at least once a week, where they get into cooperative groups and have roles and solve and present their problems. Give each group a different problem. Roles could include the timekeeper, the recorder, the reporter and the materials collector. (I write the problems out on big paper and give to the individual groups. I then go around and listen to how they are solving the problem).
- I also show the students testing problems each week and we talk explicitly about the language of the test. What is the vocabulary that they are using? What is the phraseology? What are the tricky parts? Why are they tricky? ( I find that getting students to think about the tricky parts is really powerful. In the talking about this, they articulate many of their own misunderstandings and doubts…so if I can find out where the shaky ground is, then I can better work on firming it up!)

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Problem of the Weeks are GREAT! If you have middle school students a rubric really helps them. I gave them extra credit if they EXTENDED the problem either by writing a new problem or showing how we could apply it in the real world!

Sharon LabaoSeptember 12, 2010