Monday, July 11, 2011

I Scream…You Scream…We ALL 

Scream for…

Problem Solving!
       Every single day each of us encounters problems.  No, they
may not be math problems, but we encounter problems that need solving.  Somewhere along the line someone taught us how to approach problems. Thus said, problem solving is not only a life skill but one necessary for academic success and this year our school's goal taught problem solving strategies and procedures to our students, beginning in Kindergarten.  Our school's goal was  for each student in our school to understand four basic problem solving steps so that even when presented with an unfamiliar problem, the students  would know where to begin and how to approach solving the problem.  
The four basic steps that were taught were:
1.  Understand the Problem!  To do this the students read, re-read, underline the question, and then circle important information in the problem.  

2.  Plan How to Solve the Problem!  Next the students decide exactly how they want to go about solving the problem.  

3.  Carry Out Your Plan!  Third, the students carry out their plan.  This is the actual solving of the problem. 

4.  Check Your Work!  This was the one of the MOST stressed steps.  SO often students rush on to the next problem and never bother to check their own work.  (I was TERRIBLE at doing this! When I was done, I was done!)  However, we know as teachers that no one is perfect.  Sometimes I have to re-read a question to truly know what it is asking.  Therefore, here is where the students go back and re-read the question to make sure their answer matches what the question is looking for.  

     Throughout the year our first graders got really good at remembering to carry out each step.  However, at our Common Core Math Training a few weeks ago, another teacher shared a suggestion for how they remind students of the steps to problem solving by making an ice cream cone as you go!  If you click on the ice cream scoop above, you can download directions and scoops that I am going to put on each student's desk this year as a reminder! I love this creative way for students to remember how to problem solve!

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