Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Get Your Story Problems On! #2legit2quit and a FREEBIE!!

Sooooo… I will be TOTALLY honest … I was NOT looking forward to teaching ALL of these story problems in that OA standard in the common core … SUPER AGGRESSIVE!  LEGIT … how was I going to teach story problems to my little learners?!?!  #2legit2quit

Where did I begin?  

I took a look at 2.OA.A.1 standard which reads:  

Use addition and subtraction within 100 to solve one- and two-step word problems involving situations of adding to, taking from, putting together, taking apart, and comparing, with unknowns in all positions, e.g., by using drawings and equations with a symbol for the unknown number to represent the problem.

Aggressive right?
(I realize I am being totally dramatic) :)

I also read some articles about the standard and ways to approach teaching this to my students.  I work in an urban community.  I have 22 students (yesss… ONLY 22) and 11 of those students are English languages learners (ELLs).  My ELLs are all at different proficiency levels and I know that vocabulary development is a CRUCIAL area to their learning.  When reading these articles, they mentioned not to have students rely on keywords.  Ok… so I needed to think of a way to approach these story problems.

The first strategy that I used for all my students was to teach them a routine to solve story problems using this anchor chart… 

Also this freebie below, I use with my ELLs, my rushers, and students who need help staying on task.  I use a clothespin and have students move the clothespin to what step they are on! :)  Click the picture for the freebie!

Step 1

 Read and Visualize the Story problem 

The first step is to read and visualize (Miss VonKahle … we use visualizing when we are reading… love when they make these connections).  Students are visualizing what is happening in story and asking themselves if they are adding, subtracting, getting more of something, or getting less of something.  They are (hopefully) making a mind movie to help them.  They are trying to determine the meaning of the story problem.  Below are pictures of the powerpoint that I use with my students to discuss the steps and determining what the vocabulary means in the problems.

What I was finding is that many students were unable to determine what fewer or more than meant.  I needed a concrete visual to show them.

Step 2

What do you know for sure?

Underline it!

Here is where I talk to my students about finding those numbers and words that will help them to solve the problem.  They need to underline what they KNOW!

Step 3

What are you trying to figure out?  What is the question?
Circle it! 

Students need to determine the question and circle the question.

Step 4

Write the equation that matches the story problem.  Is it a 1 step or 2 step problem?

This step is VERY important… they need to determine WHERE the unknown is.  Is the unknown at the start?  Is the unknown at the change (middle)?  Is it at the result (end)?  They need to take what they know for sure and what the question is asking to determine what that equation is.

Where is that unknown?  

Step 5
How will you solve it?

Use a strategy

Students must use a strategy to solve their equation.

Step 6


Yesssss… we USE a hashtag!  I am clearly obsessed with them and to get my students to remember to label their answer… we always say #label!  Hey… it works!!!!!!!  

So … the above powerpoint was created to help my students understand and internalize the vocabulary.  I have also made a similar power points for greater than, less, ate, gave, and other words that are confusing or may need further explanation.  We continue to practice, practice, practice our story problem strategies to build that confidence!  

  Take a look at some student work…

The above story problems can be found in my Get Your Story Problems!  product that can be found... here!  My students needed a lot of practice and repetition of story problems, so I created a ton :)!

I hope this HELPS you and your students to solve story problems!   

A big thank you to Melonheadz Illustrating and First Grade A-Z for the graphics!

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