Posts Tagged ‘Mathematics Problem Solving’

Update on New Job

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

It has been a blur getting up to speed with my new position as the Title I Technology Teacher at my new school. I find that being a specialist has a whole new set of challenges. Learning the names of all the students in the school is on that list, along with finding time to go to the restroom and trying to stay up on creating lessons for each grade level when I have no set curriculum to use. As I create new technology lessons, I plan to share them on the Highland Computer Lab website .  I thought I’d share one of these resources with all of you here. It’s  a .pdf version (a SmartBoard interactive version of this lesson will be available on the computer lab site, too) of  a lesson I created for my 4th and 5th grade math groups (more…)

Time Spent on Problem Solving

Friday, March 6th, 2009

Very often when I work with a group of teachers, I hear the question, “How much time do you spend doing Problem Solving?” I have two different answers for this question. I will share both answers below.

For the first response, I remind teachers that problem solving is one of the process standards clearly discussed in the Principles and Standards of School Mathematics (PSSM), NCTM 2000. As is stated in the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics’ Curriculum Focal Points for Prekindergarten through Grade 8 Mathematics: A Quest for Coherence (NCTM, 2006),

“Organizing a curriculum around these described focal points, with a clear emphasis on the processes that Principles and Standards addresses in the Process Standards—communication, reasoning, representation, connections, and, particularly, problem solving—can provide students with a connected, coherent, ever expanding body of mathematical knowledge and ways of thinking. Such a comprehensive mathematics experience can prepare students for whatever career or professional path they may choose as well as equip them to solve many problems that they will face in the future.”

Therefore, the answer to the question would be, “I would ‘do’ problem solving as often as I possibly can.” For example, whenever I introduce a new concept, I create a problem solving task as part of the introductory Warm Up. Asking students to reflect on their understandings, communicate their thinking, utilize a variety of strategies and so on are the foundations of a problem-based curriculum and are all part of my instructional standard operating procedures.

However, I believe what the questioner really intended to ask was, ” How do you structure your daily and weekly math times? (more…)


Saturday, January 24th, 2009

Jan. 24, 2009

Wow! My own blog. That’s not something I would have seen coming even a couple of years ago. Truthfully, writing has been a newer development in my life. Guess you really can teach an old dog new tricks. In 1999, when I was approached to consider training to become a co-editor for The Oregon Mathematics Teacher (TOMT) journal, writing was not even a blip on the radar screen. I remember being startled when I was asked to take over the editor’s position from Anne McEnerny-Ogle.  Here I am 10 years later still going strong with TOMT and loving every minute of it.  Now I’m setting out on this brave new adventure as a bold blogger.

As a part of the team of Oregon classroom teachers who have worked to revise the math problem solving series  called Making Sense of  Problem Solving (MSPS) published by Teacher to Teacher Publications, I’d like to use this space as a place to address any issues regarding the teaching of MSPS lessons. Feel free to send me your questions. I’d also like to invite feedback on any of the MSPS lessons. What lesson did you try out? How did it go?

I’ll use this space to write about my thoughts as a teacher of young children for over 28 years. I’ll pull from my experiences as a Scoring Director for Oregon’s Mathematics Problem Solving Assessment. The insights shared here will also be influenced by my experience as a math coach working with teams of teachers to revitalize their math instruction. And of course, these days my world is totally colored by my three granddaughters and my grandson, so I’ll probably talk about them some, too. I hope you the reader will find something of value here, and will come back time and again to consider  what has been posted and share your own thoughts and experiences related to teaching young children to be mathematical problem solvers.