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Problem Solving - Choose an Operation

Problem solving is HUGE right now in my district.  Our state math test was almost all word problems and our students are struggling with them.  I have read several books on how to teach math that I definitely recommend you pick up!  
Now I Get It: Strategies for Building Confident and Competent Mathematicians, K-6  Introduction to Problem Solving: Strategies for the Elementary Math Classroom
Click on either book to be taken to  Both books are by Susan O'Connell who I think is a math GENIUS!  These books totally changed the way I teach math.  The second book is an old edition.  She now has separated it into 2 different books - a k-2 book and a 3-5 book.  
Basically, the philosophy is that real-life math is presented to us through word problems so why not teach math that way?  Makes sense to me and apparently the people who are writing the state tests figured this out too.  
I am definitely not an expert at this yet but I have found and created some helpful worksheets for teaching kids how to choose an operation.  I have compiled them into a Wizard of Oz mini-unit.  (I'm considering making the same thing but with different themes - let me know if you would be interested in that). 

Click on the picture to be taken to my store
The goal of this resource is to help students understand the key concepts of each operation, give them strategies to choose an operation, help them explain their thinking, and assist them with writing their own word problems.  This mini-unit contains: 
1. A sample Word Problem for each of the 4 operations
2. A graphic organizer to help teach the key concepts of each of the 4 operations 
3. A mini-poster to help your students decide what operation to choose
4. Problem Solving pages that could be made into a notebook or glued into a notebook or to use as worksheets
5. Organizers to help your students go through the problem solving process (can be used with any strategy)
6. Organizers to help students write their own word problems

This item is in my TN store if you're interested...TGIF! 

7 comments on "Problem Solving - Choose an Operation"
  1. Hi Becky!

    I am currently doing practicum in a K-5 resource room. 35 hours... it is interesting. Any advice? I am seriously contemplating this item as I have to teach next week and it is 15 days until THE test! YIKES!

    Think, Wonder, & Teach

  2. If your students have a hard time with choosing an operation, I would do something like this with them. I know that in my state (NY) we have 3 days of math testing. Day one has a lot of choose an operation problems but days two and three are all multi-step higher level questions. My students struggle with day 1 questions so this is what I'm working on. I hope that helps...

  3. Misty, if I send you the file will you proofread it and give me suggestions?

  4. Great book recommendations! I will have to check them out. Problem solving is an area I want to work on more! I am your newest follower!

    One Teacher's Take

  5. Thanks for this book ...Its all problems solved for students and teachers...Its rally interesting and very informative blog....Thanks for this blog...
    Graphic Organizers


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