# Problem Solving

## Personalizing Word Problems

Many researchers have looked deeply at the impact of personalization of word problems on student achievement. Bailey notes that students “don’t care how many apples Bob gave to Suzy. They’re much more interested in things like music, video games, movies, trading cards, money, and friends” (Bailey, 2002, p. 61). Giordano (1990) maintains that, “student fascination with problems can be enhanced when names, locations, and events are changed to personal referents” (p. 25). Researchers agree that student motivation and interest increases engagement with the work (Fairbairn, 1993, Hart, 1996). It is important that these problems be rooted in students’ real lives (Ensign, 1997).

Happy Mathing,

Dr. Nicki

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## 4 Must Have Workstations: Problem Solving Part 2

In the word problem station, students should also be writing problems. Remember that reasoning has to do with both contextualizing (numbers to words) and decontextualizing (words to numbers). So, make sure you give the students opportunities to write word problems at least once or twice a week. The research states that it is important to give the students the units along with the numbers.

Must read article: The Answer is 20 Cookies, What’s the question?

See my word problem Pinterest Board for some ideas (anchor charts of Think Math)

Happy Mathing,

Dr. Nicki

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## 4 Must Have Workstations

There are a variety of workstations that you can set up throughout the year. But, there are 4 must have workstations that you should set up all year long. Why? Because these workstations allow students to engage in distributed practice throughout the year on the basic skills and content for their grade level. I am going to list the stations below and during the next couple of weeks. I will write extensively about these stations and how to use them.

Workstation 1: Fluency – You need a fluency station that is leveled and allows students to review facts they know and practice facts that they are working on.

Workstation 2: Word Problems- Remember in the CCSSM there are specific word problem types assigned to each grade level. Do you currently take this into account? Do you know what types your students have proficiency with?

Workstation 3: Vocabulary – Math is a language. If you want your students to speak it, they must know the words and phrases.

Workstation 4: Digital – Our students are called Digital Natives and we are called the Immigrants by Prensky(2001). How is this reflected in your math workstations.

I look forward to a wonderful discussion about workstations with you in the next couple of weeks!

Happy Mathing,

Dr. Nicki

Reference: http://www.marcprensky.com/writing/prensky%20-%20digital%20natives,%20digital%20immigrants%20-%20part1.pdf

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## Word Problem Resources

Here is a great problem solving resource. It is a scaffolded way of thinking about story math mats.

Happy Mathing,

Dr. Nicki

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## Mathematical Reasoning: Develop it in Guided Math Groups and Math Centers

Here are some great games that help your students to engage in algebraic reasoning! Do these type of games weekly to develop the required thinking for CCSS Mathematical Practice 2. Often times, I play the games with the students in guided math groups. I also play them with the whole class and we talk out the possibilities. Students will say what they think it is and why. These kinds of activities are great for developing mathematical talk as well. I also encourage teachers to set them up as math centers and students can play them with partners.

Happy Mathing,

Dr. Nicki

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## Great Problem Solving Resources: Use in Guided Math Groups and Math Workstations

Here is a great website! There are tons of problem solving resources using the CGI framework, which is the designated CCSS math problem solving framework. There are tons of other great math resources on this site as well.

Happy Mathing,

Dr. Nicki

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## Modeling Fractions! A Whole Unit to Teach in Guided Math Groups

Modeling the Math seems to be a sticky area for a great deal of people that I meet. Here is a good unit that shows modeling of fractions. Do these lessons in small guided math groups and do follow-up activities in math centers. Most people wrestle with fractions and the more opportunities that students have to discuss them and see them modeled in small groups is really important. So, spend some time working with the concrete and pictorial representation of fractions in small groups before you get to the algorithm. BUILD THE CONCEPTUAL UNDERSTANDING!!!

Happy Mathing,

Dr. Nicki

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## Problem Solving Resource Kit: Great for Guided Math Activities and Math Centers

Here is a fantastic math problem solving resource. Ashleigh is the best! This is a problem solving kit in color that give students the opportunity to play with numbers, scenarios and writing story problems. It is FREE!!!! YEAH! We Love Free Stuff! Check it out!

Happy Mathing,

Dr. Nicki

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## Great Primary Resource Packet: Use ideas for guided math groups and math centers

Here is a packet full of great things. It includes finger flashcards, colorful ten frames flashcards, “I Have Who Has?” loop cards and a variety of great story mats with pictures. I would use these activities during guided math groups as well as in math centers. Be sure to laminate the materials. I might also use magnets on some of them so that the children could do them at a white board center. Be careful with magnets and small children though, you don’t won’t them to swallow them.

Happy Mathing,

Dr. Nicki

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## Happy Spring! Math Ideas to Leap into Spring!

Happy Spring! Make some ice cream. It is a fun, interdisciplinary, standards based activity. The students can measure, write and do an experiment. I have done this a few times and it is always a delightful, delicious, dandy way to spend the day.

You can do it a few ways. I would always get parent volunteers though. You could do it as a whole class, with everyone following along step by step. Or, you could do it as one of your math center activities. I would do a few lessons before actually making the ice cream. I would do a graph of favorite types of ice cream (the students would get to flavor their ice cream with their choice). I might do a social studies lesson on how ice cream gets from the cow to the cone. Of course we would talk about the science of making the ice cream. We would absolutely write about the process. Here are some resource to get started:)

Do it! Let me know how it goes! Have fun!

Happy Mathing,

Dr. Nicki

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