Word problems... They usually are the things that make me want to cry because my kids always think you always just ADD. No matter what the problem says- add. Then...when we learn multiplication, everything becomes multiplication problems. This year I tried to do something to help stop that from happening. And for the most part it is working (of course we are just starting division so they want to divide everything just because it is SO COOL to divide).
And what I am doing that is working is daily (or 3x a week) word problems in a mini math journal. Each day, at least 3x a week, students are given a word problem. They quickly glue the word problem into their mini journals and begin working independently. I give them anywhere from 4-6 minutes to solve the problem (and the bonus if there is one) on their own. Then they get 4 or 5 minutes to work with their groups discussing the methods they used to solve the problem and what methods worked and didn't work. At the end of that, we all come back together and discuss what information we know, what we need to find out, what operation to use, and then finally solve the problem (and label).
If this is something you want to try, I have so far added the Addition and Subtraction set and Multiplication Set to my TpT store. I am working on Division now and mixed multiplication and division next. You can find them by clicking on the pictures below. And each one's preview file is a free sample question!