M is for Mathematical Monday: Decoding Math Problems

Isn't that the cutest wittle button ever? Being the #MathNerd that I am, when my pal Jess over at I {Heart} Recess invited me to join her link party, I. JUST. HAD. TO.  Then came the hard part....

What should I contribute? I had no idea what to choose since its MATH 24/7 in Room 15! 

Anyway, I decided that  I wanted to pull from what the kiddos did today, which was Decoding/Unboxing Math Problems.

But wouldn't you know it, that I would leave ALL my samples on my desk?

I guess when you go "ZOOM" after Math Intervention Tutorials that happens.

Stop and make the "zoom" noise if you haven't already.

Moving on....

Being that I am slightly addicted to creating, I decided to snapshot the question we used and recreate our steps in my handy dandy CS6. 

I {heart} CS6!!!!

Okay, here goes......

The Question
Tada!!! Here is the problem we worked on. Our district provides pre-assessment questions and thinkabouts to guide us in our pacing. Being that we are transitioning to the Common Core State Standards the rigor has "upped its anty"...these questions are suppose to tell us what we are to expect.

Key Words
When decoding math problems we ALWAYS look for key words. We approach the problem as if it was telling us a story and we pull out main ideas, or things that we think will help us solve the problem. In this case we color-coded the information with color pencils based on whose information belonged to whom. 


Still with me?

The Brain Dump

In my experience, the word "dump" is hilarious to kiddos. Thus, the Brain Dump. We dump out all the things we know right away on the side of the problem. This helps to figure out the things we still need to know. 

The "overlapping" was not drawn on our papers. We actually talked about it using two pieces of construction paper, then went in and changed some vocab words in our math problem to depict what we knew about the term. It just made more sense to show you guys in a picture.

*NOTE: When re-creating, I accidentally wrote Shirley's area as "4x3". Well, I copy/pasted and forgot to edit it. 

It is driving me crazy, but I will fix it later. So pretend it says "4x2"

That means what?
This is pretty self explanatory. For some reason, people who make tests spout out unnecessary verbiage. 

Therefore, it is my deepest opinion that the authors of assessments develop syntax with the state or condition of being difficult for the prepubescent psyche to decipher merely for the pure amusement of individuals accustomed to determining the results of this type of questions regularly. 


You see what I did there? 

Or "tried" to do. 

In other words, the test creators do this:

Well, thats what our kiddos see, and how they feel. So we practice re-writing the question to pull out EXACTLY what they are looking for.

I am fighting the urge to shout, "Give the people what they want!"

Justifying our Choices

A BIG element of our new testing format is "Explain your thinking" or tell me why you made that choice. 

YES. Gone are the days of "eeney, meeney, money, mo".

So we spend some time crossing out the "Have-Nots" and jotting down why.

We Did it!!!!

If you look in their notebook THIS is what you see. The above shows you how we get here. Right now, it is a practice and a struggle to move my kiddos to use DECODING to solve. I want to help them to make a reasonable choice and NOT. JUST. GUESS. 

I will be honest, some days it is easy....

but some days I want to run for the hills.

But when you are called to teach, you do everything in your power to make it happen for them. 

[insert "We Are The World" in the background]

So, if you made it to the end of this Blog Trilogy, pat yourself on the back. Then, go head and head on over to I {Heart} Recess's blog and "get up on" her linky.

Random Pic: Am I the only one who finds this both hilarious and sad. #CommonCoreReality

1 comment :

  1. What a fabulous post! Love the brain dump! I think I am going to work with my students on rewording the question. I really hate how the test makers try to confuse our kids! Thanks for linking up!

    I {Heart} Recess


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