Category Archives: Word Problems

The Manipulative Whisperers: The model tells a story

If you listen carefully you will hear them. They sit motionless in every classroom, on top of desks, waiting to tell a story. Without the story they are nothing.  What’s most difficult is that you can’t speak for them because the … Continue reading

Posted in Making Math Accessible, Math Tools, Modeling, Patient Problem Solving, SMPs, Strategy Development, Teaching in a Context, Who Knows?, Word Problems | Tagged , , , , , | 7 Comments

Teaching Keywords? Forget About it!

I received an email from a principal in my district last Tuesday: Please send me info on why teachers should be careful about teaching kids to pull out keywords from word problems as a key way to define what operation to … Continue reading

Posted in Cheese Mover, Intellectual Need, Making Math Accessible, Modeling, Planning, SMPs, Strategy Development, Teacher Content, Who Knows?, Word Problems | 10 Comments

The Girl that Changed Me

I recently had the opportunity to hang out with an old girlfriend.  She was my first crush. She heavily influenced the person I am today.  Periodically I would think about her but she launched herself back into my life about … Continue reading

Posted in Strategy Development, Teaching in a Context, Word Problems | 7 Comments

Flashcards: Weapons of Math Distraction

What did SMP #1 say to the flash card? ……“You suck!” We’ve been using a math reasoning inventory as our benchmark assessment for the past 5 years.  In that time there’s been tremendous growth (in small pockets), but unfortunately our struggles continue.  This post was inspired by Robert Kaplinsky‘s How Old is … Continue reading

Posted in Cheese Mover, Fact Fluency, Teaching in a Context, Word Problems | 6 Comments

Changing the Unknown

Think about the majority of K-2 students and the thought process they go through when encountering a word problem. Normally they read the problem focusing solely on the two quantities and engage in a game of craps.  They throw the dice … Continue reading

Posted in Against the Norm, Making Math Accessible, Teaching in a Context, Word Problems | 5 Comments

Area: Keeping the Context Real and Making Math Accessible

Our 3rd grade team has been working on area the past few days.  This team of teachers is awesome to work with because (A.) they put up with me and (B.) their willingness to try “new ideas” and push themselves as educators.  … Continue reading

Posted in Making Math Accessible, Measurement and Data, Patient Problem Solving, Teaching in a Context, Word Problems | 3 Comments

Dividing Fractions Using Repeated Subtraction

I was talking with a group of 5th grade students today… Me: You know that next year you’ll need to be able to divide a fraction by a fraction and not just a fraction by a whole number? (MCC6.NS.1) Student: … Continue reading

Posted in Fractions, Word Problems | 4 Comments

The Problem with Word Problems

I can’t count how many times I have handed a word problem to my students only to become more frustrated than them within the first five minutes.  Most people have an opinion on word problems. Either teachers love them or … Continue reading

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