In order to increase the critical thinking skills of students, they need daily practice with problem solving.
The experience of solving word problems on a daily basis helps the students make the connection from classroom mathematics to real-world mathematics.
Creating word problems,using the names of the students in class, helps to motivate the students.
Also, creating word problems based on themes such as the seasons, animals, or topics of classroom studies or interests, will also help the students to connect to the problems.
There is a difference between a math strategy and a math procedure.
A strategy is a method or a plan such as draw a picture, make a model, or make a table.
A procedure is a series of steps taken, such as circle the important numbers, and underline the question.
The Thinglink below provides both strategies and a procedure checklist (CUBES).
There is also a difference in “telling” students to use math strategies and allowing students to “tell” how they solved the math problem. A friendly and encouraging learning environment helps the students to feel free to take risks. The more practice they have in verbalizing their strategy and thoughts, the more success they will have in solving the problems and increasing their critical thinking.
My first graders learned to use the app, Educreations. They would work in groups of 4 to solve a word problem.
They would take a picture of the problem with the iPad, insert it into an Educreations slide, then follow the math procedures we had practiced in whole group. (CUBES- included in Thinglink)
Each member of the group would have a specific role:
Facilitator-Assured everyone had input and stayed on task; implemented CUBES
Strategist-Led the discussion as to what strategy would be used
Problem solver- Actually solved the problem according to the discussion of the group
Reporter-Shared solution with the class
Students would get the opportunity to take on each of the roles.
The Problem of the Day Google slides that are on this Thinglink can be paced out according to the needs of your class, or the time allowed.Once students get into the routine, the time allotment could be as little as 15 minutes.
Students will need manipulatives and math journals, or iPads.
The Problem of the Day Google slides can also be used on Smartboards.
The important element of this Problem of the Day activity is to have the students talk and tell how they solved the problem.
Each year, the students in my class loved the month of April.
Students would spend time listening to, reading, and writing poetry.
I would purchase a package of the small composition notebooks and issue one to each child.
They could write their own poems as we took Poetry walks on campus; or they could copy their favorite poems.
This Thinglink includes poetry based on the topic of the specials days in April.
Incredible Kid Day is a national day set aside to honor our incredible children. This year, Incredible Kid Day is March 19.
Years ago, I ran across this special day for kids, and I decided to celebrate in my classroom. I declared the week after spring break to be Incredible Kid Week.
I had parents write letters describing their incredible child. They could either use a letter form I provided, or they could email me or create their own letters. The results were amazing! I had parents, grandparents, siblings, friends, aunts and uncles, and cousins writing submitting elaborate letters about their Incredible Kid. The children beamed with pride as we read the letters aloud in class.
The students were also allowed to wear super capes in school. The capes ranged from kids wearing their baby blanket,to the costume super capes, to capes specially made to represent the child. I even converted a costume red cape to a super teacher cape. I used sticky foam letters to write: Mrs. Cunningham’s Class of Incredible Kids.
My students and I swooshed around the campus with confidence and pride!
During the week, we read books that promoted leadership, self-esteem, and life goals. Students wrote narrative poems and compositions.
This was a very popular week for students and parents. It was one of my favorite weeks!
I created this Thinglink with activities that include: videos of books by Wayne Dyer; a Power Point of lesson ideas for the vertically aligned TEK of summary;interactive poetry templates; how to draw a super kid tutorial, brain break dance, and much more.
Hope you enjoy this incredible week!
The sites included on this Thinglink are addressing the 3.6 TEK. However, since the TEKS are vertically aligned, these activities can be used as differentiated instruction and by other grade levels.
Included in this Thinglink are: explanations and examples of narrative, lyrical, humorous, and free verse poetry; a Quizlet with poetry vocabulary; interactive sites for students to use in writing poetry.
Kevin Henkes is a an author and illustrator that was always a favorite of my students.
This Thinglink provides resources for the teacher and a few read aloud versions of some of Henkes books.
3(7) Earth and space. The student knows that Earth consists of natural resources and its surface is constantly changing. The student is expected to:
(A) explore and record how soils are formed by weathering of rock and the decomposition of plant and animal remains;
Rocks and Soil was always one of a student favorite unit of study, in all grade levels.
The hands on, investigation approach is the most effective way to help the students meet with success on this particular TEK. They need to be given the opportunity to explore and record. I was fortunate to have a park located in front of my school, and this is where we did our investigations. However, I also used the school property as an investigation lab.
The Thinglink includes tutorials, songs, videos, Power Points, and vocabulary Quizlets. This Thinglink can be used as an engagement piece, an explanation piece, a reteach, or review. Students can use this as a station.