Friday, February 10, 2012

Problem Solving At Its Finest

Recently I decided that I needed to add a bit more problem solving into my student's daily routine.  I have known about Laura Candler's Daily Math Puzzler Program and thought I would give it a try.   

Laura has four available levels.  I am a fourth grade teacher, and I knew my students’ ability varied, so I needed to determine what level(s) I needed.  After six months with my students, I know that they are fairly good at problem solving.  I was confident that I could start my students on Level B, but I wanted to track their progress.  For this reason, I went ahead and gave them a problem solving pretest.  I used Laura’s free Problem Solving Assessment, and tested them on Level A,B, and C.  Using the tips for analyzing the students work outlined in the pack, I grouped my students accordingly.  The results of the pretest placed approximately two-thirds of my students in Level B and the rest were in Level C. 

I have found that my students respond best to short periodic practice, so I wanted to keep this problem solving practice short and to the point.  I cut out each problem so students only have one problem to look at.  Even though students are on different levels, they do not make this connection because once they have completed their problem, I check their work giving them immediate feedback on their own problem.  Once I have checked and provided instruction, if needed, they take their problem and glue it into their Composition notebook that we call “Brain Book”.  Our Brain Books go home daily for parents to look at and sign, so parents are also seeing how students are doing on their problem solving. 

As a result of using Laura Candler’s Daily Math Puzzlers, I have seen improvement in my students’ ability to problem solve. What has always been a chore and full of moans and groans, has changed into an exciting part of our day.  Their excitement is due to their ability to feel successful, the quick process, and the immediate feedback.

Daily Math Puzzlers contain an amazing amount of resources in all available levels.

  • Tips from real teachers that have implemented the program
  • Letter to parents explaining the program
  • Cooperative learning activities are outlined with directions
  • Progress charts 
  • Rubric 
  • Enrichment activities and games 
  • Practicing calculator skills 
  • Checklist for students to use while solving problems 
  • Math problem template for creating additional problems 
  • Encourages students to show their work and explain their thinking 
  • The eBook is convenient for printing and pulling up examples onto the Smart Board
In addition to the resources found in the Daily Math Puzzler eBook, you will find other helpful resources in Laura Candler's Problem Solving File Cabinet.

If you are looking for a way to add more problem solving to your day, want to excite your students, and want support I highly recommend Laura's Math Puzzler's Program!


Kristen said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Thanks so much Mandy, I need more help in this area and I am going to check out these resources. I hope you have a lovely weekend!

Lori said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Students definitely need more practice with problem solving and the thinking skills that involves. Thank you for sharing a such a great idea!
Conversations in Literacy

Kristin said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Hi Mandy,
I have been following your blog for a while and am so excited to share with you my newly finished blog! Come check it out:


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