Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Opinion Writing in Math

In March, we focused on monitoring for meaning and continued with our determining importance study.  We also looked at opinion writing through our equal groups unit (multiplication and division).    

We added a few pieces to determining importance before moving on, one being that after they highlighted words, they would use a black sharpie to cross out the parts they didn’t highlight and then give it to a partner to solve.  If their partner could still solve the problem, they knew they had determined the important parts-if they couldn’t they must have left something out.  It was a very fun activity and I felt like the kids learned a lot! 
When we moved to monitoring for meaning, we focused in the beginning on solving problems more than one way in order to check your work and make sure answer made sense.  Then we looked closer at word problems as we were reading to make sure we were understanding what the problems were asking.  We talked a lot about if the picture in our minds (mental images) were clear and related to the questions being asked. 
Our opinion writing came into play when we had finished working through all the multiplication strategies (we worked on nine).  They then had to write a piece about which strategies they liked using the best and why.  Also, for my more advanced writers I had them add in a piece about which they thought was more efficient. 


My challenge for the next month is to continue pushing the kids to use the thinking strategy language.  I feel like they are now at the point where they can name them when asked, but I’d like it to become less directed and more independent as we finish up the year.  


  1. It's eye opening to know that even in 5th grade we are still trying to determine importance and monitoring for meaning when working with word problems. However, it does make sense because the word problems continue to increase in complexity as the students get older.

  2. I really liked how you used the strategy to apply to your own understanding Shannon. Tracy, I totally agree with this idea of trying to get kids to determine importance and using their understanding of other math standards to apply to new ones. Kids tend to think that all math problems are just one way/strategy, That is why they struggle because they are not able to transfer their learning to different problems. This requires really deep understanding of math.