Monday, August 27, 2012

Monday Book Study: Chapter 3

So I am playing catch up as I just loaded chapter 2 because I was so exhausted from last week's beginning of school. But today.....we had a HURRICANE DAY!!!!  Yes, I live in Florida and almost all school districts closed today along the coast due to Issac. Weather is not bad at all and we probably could have gone to school!

And so...Chapter 3 is Getting Started Strategies
Looking back at chapter 2's problem solving framework, chapter 3 goes into each step more in depth because students really struggle with how to beginning solving problems!

1. Restating the problem- one needs to understand the problem before figuring out how to solve it.  A powerful statement made in this section is students need to make the problem their own!! To do this it is wise to get your kiddos to read through the problem 3 times. By doing this they can get a focus on the important information. One can start to visualize what is happening and being asked so that they can retell the problem without looking at it.

2. Identify wanted, given, & needed info-This starts to come automatically when you are able to restate the problem. In my class I always ask these questions before we dig into working the problem.  This would be great work to put into the math notebooks!  Don't focus solving the problem!  Just ask the questions and have them respond!!

3. Identify a subgoal-as students get in the higher grades we see more multi-step problems.  This is a problem because they do the first part of the problem and forget to go back to finish the problem.  I always tell my students the writer of tests to this on purpose because they know you will forget to complete the problem.  We make it as a "proving the writer wrong" which gets them excited!

4. Select appropriate notation-this is where students use strategies that represent their thinking.  One or more can be used at a time depending on the age appropriateness of the problem. It can go from a scaffolding of concrete models, to pictorial representations, to numerical notations to abstract symbols. The book states we use this for two reasons: 1. to help get to a solution and 2. to show the process you followed to get to the solution so others can understand your thinking.  This is why we always tell our students to, "show your work!"

Something to think about and ask yourself......What steps can you take to teach your students how to use these strategies when solving problems?

Until next week.......

Monday Book Study: Chapter 2

Sorry I did not get this out on time as last week week started school and BOY was i exhausted!! :)

 Chapter 2 talks about planning for problem solving in the classroom. The steps to do this is: 1. find a good math problem. This really opened my eyes when reading this section and looking at some examples. You will want to keep these keys factors in mind when looking or creating problems:

 *Make it understandable
 *Make it interesting and motivating

 It goes on to demonstrate the Problem Solving Framework that should be used when working out problems which I think is the hardest for our students to understand and take the time in practicing....

 1. Understanding the Problem: RESTATE the problem in your own words & what INFORMATION is the problem asking for.
 2. Devise A Plan: what STRATEGIES am I going to use?
 3. Carry Out the Plan: Do it and CHECK each step as you move through the problem
 4. Look Back: does this make SENSE??

 Part 2 of the chapter talks about the Instructional Model of Launch, Explore & Summarize.

  Launch: Is more like your engaging of the students.
  Explore: This is where the students gather data, share ideas, look for patterns and choose strategies.
  Summarize: This part is the one that needs the most focus but for some reason we never give enough attention to. Students have discussions and share how they figured out the problem and the strategies used. Students can also revise or refine their work to better understand how to solve the problem.

 So what does problem solving look like in your classroom????

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Monday Book Study: Chapter 1

For the next 8 weeks a chapter will be discussed in this book!  I went to some Math Trainings this summer and problem solving was the main focus and this book explains everything that was presented in the trainings..
So in chapter 1 it discusses what is problem solving.  Is it just a word problem?  For students to get the most understanding of solving problems it needs to have some connection to them....if not why would they want to do them???  REAL WORLD PEOPLE!!!   In our everyday lives we solve problems and so we need to provide the same opportunity for our students.  As the old saying goes....the more we practice the better we will get at it! Students should be trying to solve and understand word problems everyday!!
The books goes into depth on where to find good problems and even has a checklist for the components and where to fit it into your day.
A question was asked in the chapter for teachers to reflect on:

How has your perspective of problem solving changed after reading this chapter?

For me I would have to say that students have a hard time reading & understanding word problems.  This chapter made me aware that not all word problems provide a deeper understanding of math.  It is something that now I will be on the look out for especially with the handy dandy checklist from page 20. I think that students will get more out of doing problems if it means something to them.  Making connections helps to keep them engaged.

What do you think about solving word problems?