Work on Word Problems

Word a teacher you love to hate them but you also know that they are a necessary part of your math classroom.  In second grade, we are consistently working on word problems all year long.  I love watching my students become problem solvers!  I wanted to share a few simple tips and strategies with you guys that have worked in my classroom.

1)  Use sentence frames to help your students think through word problems...

As a former Dual Language teacher, I totally understand the benefits of using sentence frames.  Yes, even in second grade!

I used two different sentence frames each time we solved a word problem together...

"I know _____________."  and  "I need to know _____________."

When we discussed what we know, we talked about what the word problem tells us.  We circled this and wrote out the sentence frame.

When we discussed what we need to know, we talked about what we need to solve the question the word problem is asking us.  We also circled the question and wrote out the sentence frame.

Both of these sentence frames really helped my students make a plan to help solve the word problem.  After awhile, my students are able to do this independently.  I leave the sentence frame cards up on our math wall as a reminder.

2)  Have your students write their own word problems...

I really love moving up Bloom's Taxonomy while we are working on word problems.  One thing that I do every year with my second graders is to have them write their own word problems.  Of course, we consume lots and lots of examples of word problems before we do this.  My students and I look at the different parts of word problems and we discuss what each word problem needs to have.  After we have consumed tons of word problems, my students are ready to write their own.

In order to write our own word problems, I give each partner pair 4 index cards.  On one index card, they write a name (you can tell that my class last year was OBSESSED with all things soccer), then they write a thing (we stuck with toys but you can have them write anything, and then they write a number on the two remaining index cards.

The students stick their cards in the corresponding paper bag and then we are ready to write our word problems.  The kids draw one name, two numbers, and one toy with their partner.  Then, they write their word problem in their journal.  After we have finished writing our word problem, the students switch with their opposite table partners and they solve each others' word problems.  They LOVE it.  We also keep these and move them into a math center after we have practiced whole group several times.

3) Practice, Practice, Practice...

The best way to work on word problems is to have multiple word problems available for your students to solve and practice.  I put these word problem cards in one of our math centers and my students work on them daily.  I have them record their work in their math station journal.  The cards are seasonal, so I have different cards to last for the whole year.  It's a super easy to prep station!

Click HERE to see these word problem card sets in my TpT Store.

Let me know in the comments your best tip for working on word problems!

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