These past few weeks we have been really adding to our problem solving toolbox. From identifying clue words in story problems that tell us which Math operation to use to identifying our own problem solving strategies, we are revisiting the various Math concepts in a meaningful and personal way. Not only are we reflecting on which strategies we tend to use the most, but also are practicing identifying the strategies of our peers in hopes of adding to our personal toolbox.

Test it out: How can you use our helpful numbers of 2, 5, and 10 to help you solve this multiplication problem?

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| The name of the game on Friday during Math is Perseverance. Our Problem Solving Friday's are a time when we challenge our problem solving skills with Math puzzles. These puzzles are conceptually within reach (not asking them to do long division), however are far from easy. "Fall down 6 times, get up 7!" I try to emphasize that this is a fun challenge, meant to stretch our thinking and where we can learn from our mistakes without worry. Above are our Math Fix-Up Tools, the first and most important being: engage in positive self-talk. Going right along with our growth mindset thinking, the most important thing when approaching a difficult problem is having the right mindset. Too often on Friday I heard the words "too hard" or "I can't do this" and it made me so very sad. I am ok with not reaching a final answer as long as we tried our best and learned from our mistakes. |

After exploring and understanding various strategies for solving addition and subtraction problems, our next unit in Math is all about putting those skills to the test with some problem solving! As we tackle word problems, we are going to put on our critical thinking hats and become detectives, identifying key words that signal which operation to use along with creating bar models to visually show (and check!) our understanding of the question. Here are a few videos that we watched that do a good job introducing bar models or the part part whole method. First one is a video from learnzillion.com which is a great resource for video mini lessons on a variety of topics. HERE It requires you to sign up but as a teacher I feel that it is a great resource. Another video demonstration of how to use bar models for solving word problems: |

Bar models also lead into algebra and understanding the relationship between addition and subtraction! I am excited at making what seems like a complicated subject (algebra) and presenting it in a way they can understand and see!

]]> Much like with addition, this week we have been exploring multiple strategies for solving subtraction problems. As we begin to explore the relationship between addition and subtraction, I find that understanding how to represent and solve a problem in a variety of ways strengthens the depth of mastery over the concept. We had a few of those wonderful "Ah hah!" moments with modeling subtraction using counting cubes and a number line as our first instinct may seem to be going right to the standard algorithm to solve tricky subtraction problems. |

We also focused a lot on borrowing and regrouping within subtraction. Thinking back to when I was taught subtraction, I remember learning the steps to regrouping without fully understanding what was actually going on within the problem. Hoping to show the standard algorithm steps side by side with counting cubes, I am working to bridge the understanding of how borrowing works. This requires a mastery of place value, knowing that 4 tens is equal to 3 tens and 10 ones, along with a foundational understanding of subtraction in which the numbers cannot switch places like they can in addition. I hope to continue to model borrowing across zeros using counting cubes in hopes that they make sense of the crazy crossing out and regrouping going on in their work. |

As a part of estimation and checking our answer for reasonableness, we also covered a few strategies for rounding to the nearest 10, 100, or 1,000. Conceptual understanding can be shown using a number line while a step by step process is sometimes helpful for quick rounding. Lastly, for fun I told them a story method of understanding rounding using a worker and a boss. See if they can retell the story to you as a strategy for rounding! |

We also covered multiple strategies to present and solve addition problems. Knowing and being able to use and explain multiple strategies helps strengthen the brain and we had a few amazing "Ah hah!" moments when exploring the many ways we can represent addition. The last method that is not on the anchor chart is the standard algorithm to solving addition (or "stacking" as they like to call it), which we went over as well! Next up is subtraction and understanding the relationship between the two Math operations! |

A great way to continue to practice (and have your child demonstrate their thinking) is to present a multi number addition or subtraction problem and compare all the different ways we can quickly get to an answer. Compare which strategy works best for you to a friend or family member! It is fun to see all the different ways we see and solve Math problems.

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