If I had to come up with the number one thing that the majority of my students struggle with when it comes to math each year, it would definitely be story problems. The whole process of reading through the problem, figuring out how to solve it, and explaining their thinking afterwards is so challenging for first graders. We work on this skill over and over throughout the school year because it is such an important skill.
We use our Daily Math Notebooks to allow us to work on problem solving as well as multi-step problems, which again, are SO challenging for young minds.
I love these because we can quickly review our important math skills each day. We really focus on not only solving word problems, but explaining our thinking when we solve them.
In my former school, we used two school-wide strategies everyday that I still carry over to my classroom now. The first one was called RUTA-C. This stood for Read, Underline, Think, Attack, Check. This is a great way to help students work their way through story problems. There are many other acronyms that you could use as well. Some of the ones that I have seen include:
- CUBES (Circle important numbers, Underline the Question, Box Key Words, Evaluate and Eliminate, Solve and check your work)
- STAR (Stop and read, Think about your strategy, Act and solve your problem, Review the Answer)
- RISE (Read and reread the problem, Illustrate, Solve, Explain)
Whichever one you decide to use, stick with it and use it consistently. This will really help your students with working through story problems.
Another prompt that we use in our Daily Math Notebooks is, “I know______ because ______.” This is one of my favorite ways to have students answer questions, because it allows them to explain their thinking in a logical way. “I know that Abby has 9 pencils, because she has 5 red pencils and 4 blue pencils and 5+4=9.” Without this prompt, so many of my students fall into the trap of explaining how they got their answers with sentences like, “I am smart.” or “I used my fingers.”
This prompt also works well when explaining their answers during reading comprehension. “I know that Goldilocks was scared when she saw the three bears, because she screamed and ran out of the house as fast as she could.” It truly is a great prompt to use in many areas. Click on the picture below to download the freebie picture to post in your classroom.
Want to add Daily Math Notebooks to your math instruction?
Check them out by heading over to my Teachers Pay Teachers store. DAILY MATH NOTEBOOKS
What are teachers saying about Daily Math Notebooks?
“LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS!!!!!!! Was hoping you had a math version of your reading comprehension and here it is!!! LOVE IT! THANK YOU!!!” -Rhonda
“Perfect for my small group and I am able to use the same packet for both my high and lows and adapt what work I ask them to show or how we think about the problem.” -Taylynn
“Quick daily review of important math concepts. Can be used in the classroom in many different ways. For me, I project it on my white board and complete it daily with my class every day during our math meeting. This has been a quick, simple, and useful addition to my daily math instruction.” -Jeffrey
Click on the picture below to head to my store, or PIN it for later 🙂