Thursday, June 20, 2013

What's Your Math Problem!?! Book Study Chapter 2

I am linking up with
Jennifer Smith-Sloane from 4mulaFun

Meg Anderson  from Fourth Grade Studio

Jamie Riggs from MissMathDork

and Jennifer Findley from Teaching to Inspire 5th Grade

for this book study on What's Your Math Problem!?!

 If you missed my posting for Chapter 1 you can find that here.

Chapter 2 - Planning for Problem Solving in the Classroom

What Does it Mean to Plan for Problem Solving?

Students have difficulty solving problems in part because they do not have the necessary framework to approach these tasks.  They have been taught to compute and follow procedures. Solving problems involves much more than simply following procedures. In order to help students to learn to solve problems, you must plan for instruction that will help your students to become problem solvers.

Step 1: Finding a Good Problem - You need to find problems that both  involve the mathematical concepts that you are planning on teaching, but are also "doable" for your students. The author suggests building a library of rich problems.

 4mula for Fun has this freebie form to help you plan.  Visit her site to access it as well as to see an example of how she would use it in her classroom.

Step 2: Provide Your Students With A Problem Solving Framework

Gojak recommends using George Polya's 4 principles of problem solving:

1. Understand the Problem
2. Devise a Plan
3. Carry out the Plan
4. Look Back

Gojak continues on to describe a new model of problem solving called the Launch, Explore and Summarize Instructional Model.

The Launch stage engages the students in the problem they are about to solve.
The next stage, Explore, is where the students work as a class, in small groups, with a partner, or individually to solve the problem. 
The final stage, Summarize, is the area that I most overlook, and yet it is where the main teaching should occur according to Gojak. 
My main takeaways from this chapter:
1. I definitely need to plan my math lessons differently.
2. Gojak provides some question stems at the end of this chapter that I need to incorporate into my lessons.  Jennifer at 4mula for fun mentioned printing them out and putting them on a ring to use throughout the lesson, and I definitely think that is something I am going to do as well.

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