Saturday, October 24, 2015

And suddenly it's late October . . .

And suddenly it's late October . . . where have I been?!  

Oh, right, at school . . .  ;)

Don't you wish ALL of your students wrote this neatly on their spelling tests?!  Oh my goodness.  Thank you, child!

We started word problems a few weeks ago.  These used to be a huge hassle to me because they were so unfamiliar to the children that when they came up periodically in our curriculum, most kids were at a loss.  "How do I do this?"  "I don't get it."  "Is it recess time yet?"

So I decided they needed more practice.  

I researched different types of problems and learned that there are WAY more kinds of word problems than I realized. :)  There are join, separate, part-part-whole, and compare problems, all with the unknown number (the answer!) in different places.  Specifically:

  • Join: Result Unknown (A had 1. B gave him 3 more.  How many does A have now?  1 + 3 = ?)
  • Join: Change Unknown (A had 1.  B gave him some more.  Now A has 4.  How many did B give him?  1 + ? = 4)
  • Join: Start Unknown (A had some.  B gave him 3 more.  Now A has 4.  How many did he have to start?  ? + 3 = 4)
  • Separate: Result Unknown (A had 4.  He gave 1 to B.  Now how many does A have?  4 – 1 = ?)
  • Separate: Change Unknown (A had 4.  He gave some to B.  How he has 3 left.  How many did he give to B?  4 - ? = 3)
  • Separate: Start Unknown (A had some.  He gave 1 to B.  How he has 3 left.  How many did he have to start?  ? – 1 = 3)
  • Part-Part-Whole: Whole Unknown (A had 1.  B had 3.  How many altogether?  1 + 3 = ?)
  • Part-Part-Whole: Part Unknown (A had 4.  1 was red and the rest were blue.  How many were blue?  1 + ? = 4  or 4 – 1 = ?)
  • Compare: Difference Unknown (A has 4.  B has 1.  How many more does A have than B?  4 – 1 = ? or 1 + ? = 4)
  • Compare: Quantity Unknown (A had 1.  B had 3 more than A.  How many did B have?  1 + 3 = ?)
  • Compare: Referent Unknown (A had 4.  A had 3 more than B.  How many did B have?  4 – 3 = ?)

And then to make everything even MORE complicated for these little 7- and 8-year olds, to solve story problems, children need to be able to:
  • Determine/visualize the story/problem
  • Identify the question that needs to be answered
  • Figure out what to do with the numbers given
  • Do the math
  • Explain what the answer means* ("4" doesn't answer the question:  Students must determine if the answer is, "Lisa has 4 cookies," "Caleb has 4 cookies," "Lisa has 4 more cookies than Caleb," "Caleb has 4 more cookies than Lisa," or "Lisa and Caleb have 4 cookies altogether.")

And then THIS mean teacher makes them write a complete sentence as their answer. :)

So we start with story problems that have lots of words but simple math.  Later in the year, we'll move to 2-digit numbers, but by that point the story problems will seem easy because the kids have done so much practice.

Here are two questions/answers from this week's page:
I love how this student drew all the doorways. :)

These problems are both from the "Mystery" page of one of my Reading for Math packets.  This packet has ten pages (with ten problems each) that can be used in any order.  So far, my kids have done the "Mystery," "Feathered Friends," and "In My Neighborhood."  Next week, we'll tackle "Let's Vote" in preparation for Election Day the following week. :)

Yoga ball meets pencil.  'Nuff said.

I love this tree outside my classroom.  In the morning light:

 And at the end of the school day:

It just makes me happy. :)

And then there's chocolate.  Which makes me very happy.  Until sometime in the wee hours of the morning, when I wake up with a splitting headache.  

It's taken me a while to figure this out.  I've eaten (too much) chocolate for years without incident, but this summer, I started getting headaches.  Bad ones that didn't respond to Excedrin, Advil, Tylenol, or any combination thereof.  I finally made the connection between yummy chocolate last night = bad headache this morning and thought, "Oh, no!"

But I'm learning.

But sometimes there are choices to be made.

I ate chocolate cake made by a teammate this week - a VERY thin sliver because I HAD to have some (she makes the BEST chocolate cake) - and had a headache the next day. :(  I knew I would; as I ate it, I thought, "This is tomorrow's headache," and I was right.

So the Halloween candy I bought two weeks ago is still unopened.  Victory.


  1. That tree is gorgeous! You are lucky to have such a view!

  2. Yes, I am - and those aren't even great pictures (I was trying not to get kids/parents in the background "under" the tree)! I take many pictures of that tree each fall . . . :)