Ever have one of those days where a random thought during your lesson plan suddenly causes the light bulb to go off with your students? Well, it happened to me last week and it was amazing! I wanted to share it with you all.
We were discussing “What questions can be answered by using addition and subtraction?” The students were struggling to come up with words that made them think of using addition and subtraction when reading word problems, when the idea of treating word problems as a mini-story with actions occurred to me!
I reminded the students that they were experts in reading short stories and able to see the action of the story. We used their close read skills to examine story problems. I, then, had my students brainstorm actions that they had seen in addition problems and what a list they came up with:
ADDITION: earned, combined, combining, saving, growing, altogether, getting more, put together,received, build up, getting larger, gathered, bringing together, total, in all, brought together
We did the same for subtraction using those same close read skills and here’s what they found:
SUBTRACTION: separating, giving away, putting into groups, throw away, break apart, spend, eat, used, gave away, left,
I had the students use their lists to examine the word problems on their homework sheets. They were so excited to be able to identify what operation was needed to solve the problem! How often are students excited to read word problems…not very! Hands flying into the air, excited to share what they thought was the action and operation of the problems.
So where do my students go from here? My goad for the list is that my students will continue to add to their lists as we go through the year.
Next week, we will be examining multiplication and division word problems. I’ll keep you posted!!