Using a four step model for math problem solving has been successful in many ways. Each step was taught individually and then the importance of all the steps together became the next goal. As many of the students were not reading at a high enough level to independently read the problems, I continued to read the problems to the majority of the students. The children learned to underline the numbers in the problem and listen for key-words and phrases (e.g. How many in all? How many more? How many fewer?) These key phrases were an excellent way to differentiate and challenge students who had mastered the simpler problems. The simplest problems involved primarily “How many in all?” where the student was solving for the “whole” in a Part-Part Whole problem. Many of the other students become comfortable identifying that they were solving a part (addend) in Part-Part Whole problem. The most complicated problems that were geared to only a few students in my class, these included solving comparison problems and then answering a separate question.
It became apparent through my work that even though the higher level students were solving much tougher problems, they were still relying on simpler ways to show their work. I used the Standards Based Math Rubric that accompanies Exemplar problems as a way of assessing their level focusing on problem solving, reasoning and proof, communication, connections and representation. My top students scored in a combination of Apprentice and Practitioner (2 and 3 on a 4 point scale.) This, I feel can be directly associated with the developmental level of a kindergarten aged student.
As you can see from my examples, the students used a variety of strategies to solve the problems. Atte...
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...he students most likely will be entering the “green folder” process in the Fall of 1st Grade. Both students work with our reading specialist and will be attending summer school.
Upon reflection, I feel using WTW is a good resource to teach letter and sound knowledge. This is plenty of differentiation available within the program. The formative information garnered from using WTW not only helped guide my teaching but gave me a simple way to show parents what their child was learning.
I find the biggest struggle at times is assuring that the separate groups are working independently while I meet with students. This is an ongoing struggle and can be associated with the age and maturity level of a typical kindergarten student. I have found that having a variety of activities including games, quizzes and iPad apps is a great way to help the students stay on task.
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