Hi there! I hope you are all staying warm and cozy during this new year! I have been busy this month with tons of updates and new additions to my store. 

Now that we are settled in to our school year here in America I am working very hard on solving word problems with my first graders! I recently blogged all about how I teach word problems during one of my Math Tip Monday posts that you can read HERE.

I just updated my Winter Word Problems, Valentine Word Problems, and Word Problem Bundle! If you own these items be sure to redownload them from your "My Purchases" tab on Teachers Pay Teachers for the updated version (for free of course!)
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I love this bundle because it has a similar format your kids can get used to and provides fun themed centers for the entire year! I don't know about yours, but my students always seem to need more practice solving story problems. 

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My word problem sets have a variety of addition and subtraction problems to 20, and to only 10 for the beginning of the year sets (with unknowns in all positions). I like to include a variety of answer sheets. I typically use the blank pages during center time. The pages with the problems written out work well for homework pages or quizzes. I also include answer keys and QR codes for self-correcting if you choose. 

My newest addition to this series includes Mini-Books. Students can create their own word problems to solve, or work with partners. For those students struggling with writing, differentiated sentence starters are available. These open ended problems help you get a better understanding of who understands the addition and subtraction process and who needs more support. 
These examples are from my most recent Carnival Word Problem Set:

We had our first snow day this week (meaning light dusting here in the south) which gave me some time to add a few new goodies to my store. My Valentine's Counting to 120 math center and Carnival Word Problem set  will be 50% off until Monday night.

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Last but not least, I want to wish all my teacher friends down under a very happy start to their school year. I lived in Australia during college and absolutely fell in love with it's beauty!! 

As a special treat for you I am putting my Owl Themed Classroom and Ocean Themed Classroom Organization and Decor sets on sale through the end of the month! Happy teaching!

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Do your students struggle with word problems? I know mine do! Although many can solve equations, the wording of some problems seems to confuse my first graders. One of the biggest reasons they solve problems incorrectly is because they often rush to find answers. To help combat their desire to "speed solve" I have implemented a Problem Solving Routine. I hope this can help your kiddos too!

First, it is important to know that there are many different types of addition and subtraction problems. For example, sometimes students are looking for the sum/total unknown (9 + 3 = __). Other times the total is provided but an addend, or part, is missing (9 + ___ = 12). I first teach my students how to solve basic addition and subtraction problems with unknowns in all positions. For more information and games on how I teach these skills you can click here and here. We also do a lot of composing and decomposing of numbers.

I find that the most important part of looking at equations is thinking about real life/interesting situations where the numbers could be applied. When we look at the equation 9 + 3 = __ I might use an example like "The Ninja Turtles ordered 9 pepperoni pizzas. Then, they order 3 cheese pizzas. How many pizzas did they have in all?" By creating problems with themes that they enjoy, students, especially those that may be intimidated by math, become more engaged. I also will use a similar problem like "The Ninja Turtles ordered 9 pepperoni pizzas. Then they ordered some cheese pizzas. Altogether they have 12 pizzas. How many of the pizzas were cheese?" We discuss how the problems are the same, but also how they are providing different information and asking two different questions. When students know how to use number bonds and compose/decompose numbers fluently, they are able to plug in the information where it belongs.

The steps we use for our problem solving routine are below, and can be downloaded for free. I hang this mini poster in my classroom and we refer to it daily. The repeat after me style and hand movements also make it easier to remember.

I love creating word problem activities and have several in my store- I use the cards for centers and small groups, open ended problems for independent work, recording sheets for homework, and QR codes as self checkers (not all of my products have them currently but I am working on them). If you need word problem activities here is my bundle (all can be found individually as well).

What is your favorite way to teach word problems?

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