Teaching Writing and Challenging Math Problems

This year has been a huge struggle for me with writing in Math. Students still want to do as little writing or explanation as possible. I have tried to model how to attack multiple step word problems and the type of detail explanation that is needed to complete them. I think students are still stuck on the single or two step process of problem solving. Unfortunately, in the age of PARCC, the 6th grade math curriculum has been changed greatly. What I taught in 6th grade two years ago is no where near to what kids are expected to do. Kids must be able to navigate word problems that involve 5 or 6 steps with multiple concepts in the same problem. Also, the skills of the math students that are entering 6th grade are very wide. Many of the Robert's kids tend to be more prepared for 6th grade than students that are coming from other schools that may be less rigorous and lower performing. I have literally lost my mind trying to figure out ways to make concepts more understandable. I also struggle with trying to support students that are several years below level and students that are advanced. Students are also struggling with the concept of struggling. They want the quick fix and don't want to keep trying to figure out the problem. They give up easily. What strategies do you use?

I struggle with the same thing Danielle! I want my kids to be able to solve any and all of the word problems that I present to them. But I think of my own thinking and I love to solve word problems but if you want me to spend a bunch of time writing about the solving of the word problems I am not longer interested. I do not enjoy writing at all and if my math teachers put math and writing together all the time I would not have succeeded in math at all! I think we need to look at breaking down and solving word problems apart from writing a major math piece.

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ReplyDeleteDanielle, I agree with you that students are experiencing an increased level of difficulty when faced with struggling and understanding that not all answers come as easily as pushing enter on a google search. I think this mindset of everything must come easy is going to be our new normal. My question is: How as teachers do we teach students about:productive struggle, having a growth mindset, and developing academic courage to take risks which might result in failure.

DeleteI certainly think that as we move forward in education, we are going to need conversations as professionals and lessons for students on struggling, accepting failure, and strategies for how we react to both struggling and failure.