Google+ Badge

Thursday, January 07, 2016

Focus on Problem Solving: Fifth Grade Math

The math year began with getting to know one another with number activities, and then a lot of work reviewing number knowledge. The start also found us setting up the math classroom, establishing routines, and discussing "learning to learn" attitudes and efforts related to math.

After that we invested time and effort into a CCSS-driven fifth grade math focus beginning with basic operations and decimals. During that time we embedded lessons related to problem solving, coordinate grids, and order of operations. Students practiced and learned math using a number of tech resources too including Khan Academy, TenMarks, That Quiz, and Symphony Math. 

Now that most students have established a strong foundation with the standard algorithms and operations, it's time to dig in deeper with problem solving focus and effort, and after that a concerted effort to learn and study fractions with multiple resources. Throughout this study of fractions, we'll also review geometry, measurement, more problem solving, and hopefully some good project/problem base learning.

Our problem solving focus will utilize the SRSD approach to math problem solving. Students are familiar with this approach because they use it in their reading/writing lessons. To begin with students will review the process using the video and graphic organizers on the website. After that we'll focus on one or two multi-step problems a day that utilize measurement and beginning fraction data. Using the gradual release of responsibility process students will apply the SRSD approach together, in small groups, and on their own throughout the next two weeks. At the end of the session, students will take an assessment to determine growth and need in this regard. 

The initial baseline assessment demonstrated that students, in general, needed a lot of practice in this area. I look forward to the teaching and learning ahead and anticipate that there will be a lot of growth in this regard after students have time to apply and practice this valuable problem solving approach.