Today I'm here to share how to turn your students into Mathematical Thinkers!
During my first year of teaching, I found that my students really struggled with word problems. They had a difficult time understanding what to do and how to solve; especially when all 4 operations have been introduced. In order to get better at anything, students must be given practice. They need to be exposed to word problems frequently..not only during your unit in which word problems are covered.
So--I ended up creating weekly morning math problems. I wish you could see how this set has transformed since my first year of teaching! I've probably revised this product a total of 4 times.
Each day, students will take care of their morning business (turning in homework, copying down the night's homework, getting their supplies out for the day, etc). As a part of morning business, students are required to work on 3 math problems a day.
In the beginning of the year (August), they start off with only 2 problems which review 2nd grade Common Core State Standards. September transitions them into 3 problems daily with the exception of some Fridays.
It is important that your students practice, but it is even more important that you students engage is mathematical conversations. Your students must be able to explain and justify their reasonings for choosing a particular answer.
For about the first month and a half, I will model for students how to lead the class in correcting their morning math as well as how to facilitate conversations. After that, the correcting is all up to the students.
Every afternoon we take out our Morning Math Books and a red pen. Students go up to the front of the room and share how they solved the problem. If a student got the incorrect answer or are having a difficult time understanding, they raise their hand to let the 'teacher' know. It is then up to the 'teacher' to come up with another way to explain to help out their friend.
It is so amazing to hear your students saying things like "How do you know your answer correct?", "I like the way you solved the problem", "Don't you mean to say 4 tens, not 4?" "I got lost when you explained ___, could you go back and say it again".
I love to hear them having conversations about math, helping each other to see math in different ways as well as how to explain and justify their answers in different ways. For those students who may have difficult time explaining their answers, it is so valuable for them to be able to hear others explain. Eventually they get the hang of it, and will be begging to be the 'teacher' to correct the day's Morning Math.
If you'd like to try this out with your students, I have a FREEBIE sample of September's Morning Math available for you here.