* The kids who put their hands up first are the best at math.*

It may be different in elementary school, but in middle school, there are so many standards to teach I am happy if the students can solve the problem using one method.

Visualizing how ideas fit together helps students construct meaning and strengthens recall.

The strategies that they use to solve the problem - that's all them - but my students needed this scaffold until they internalized the process. Explain to your students that mathematicians use an organized process to record their thinking when solving problems and that today they are going to learn how to use a problem solving graphic organizer.

This will help them to organize their thinking in a way that will make it easier for others to understand and will help them to slow down and think deeply about the problem that they are required to solve.3.

You can get a free version of the problem solving organizer here.

My biggest take-away from being back in a regular class last year was that until I know what my students know I need to assume that they don't know what I assume they should know. I don't think you should always model math concepts first but in this case I wanted to teach them the problem solving process and I wanted them to do it my way.

I teach Kindergarteners so trying to get them to explain at first would be difficult.

They could show how to count numbers using manipulatives as well as grouping to show how many groups you can get out of a given number.(e.g.

Many strategies focus on solving word problems using a step-by-step format.

An alternate strategy employs some of the same methods in using steps to solve a problem but asks students to list or illustrate steps on a graphic organizer.

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