Today I had a wonderful time collaborating with Mrs. Mullins, Mrs. Maher, and their 5th grade/1st grade buddy partners. The first grade teachers has noted that the 1st graders are being challenged by math word problems, particularly those that they write themselves. Most of the students get the basic information of the problem down, but they forget to ask a question at the end and are often unsure of how to answer the problem. The 5th grade buddies have been supporting the 1st grade students in this challenge.
Today, all of the buddies came to the library. We began on the carpet where I read aloud the book Elevator Magic by Stuart J. Murphy. When each subtraction scenario appeared in the story, I paused and the 5th grade buddies worked with the 1st grade buddies to figure out the problem. We pinpointed the information that was provided, identified the question that was being asked, and vocalized our strategies for getting the answer.
Finally, buddies went to tables to craft their own word problems using any numbers and objects they wanted. They were asked to jazz up their word problems as much as they wanted.
Mrs. Mullins, Mrs. Maher, and I all visited with buddies as they worked and listened to the many strategies that they were using. They crafted a whole variety of problems that ranged from single digit problems to problems dealing with thousands. Now, Mrs. Mullins plans to type up these problems and share them with the 1st grade teachers for use in class.
The buddies will return to the media center in January for another math experience with fractions.