Wednesday, October 30, 2013

What's Workin' Wednesday- Math Journals

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).
The problems that I have started created have (for the most part) a bonus question after the first question. The reason I did this is so that students can get practice working with 2 part problems, but having the problem broken down for them. My students LOVE taking out their math journals and working through the problems. And they get extra excited when they solve the "challenging" ones correctly. And I just LOVE seeing them work through the problems.
This process takes no more than 15 minutes a day and I think it is well worth the 15 minutes.
(And for those of you wondering, the mini journals are regular composition books that I took to Office Max and had cut in half. They charge by the cut and can do a few at a time. I saw on pinterest that Home Depot would do this for free...however when I took them there, the guy completely destroyed one and I refused to let him try again.)

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!

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