A few weeks ago I presented on the Math Constructed Response Assessment and using math tasks in the classroom at the SDE Tennessee 1st Grade Conference. It was an experience like no other! I mean, I had lunch with Jim Grant, Deanna Jump, Kim Adsit, and Sandi Reyes. I mean, seriously people, they are education rockstars! I'm still a little starstruck...So back to my presentation. The CRA is a math assessment we give here in Tennessee. I went over the format and what is expected, CCSS & Mathematical Practice standards, identifying & writing cognitively demanding math tasks and using children's lit for math tasks. You can find my handouts under the "conferences" tab at the top of my blog.
My school began using math tasks last year. We learned how to identify quality tasks and how to write them. At first, I was worried, but after a few weeks, my kids LOVED working them! I learned two problem solving methods last year that my 1st grade students did really well with. The first is a way to analyze word problems called BUGS.
BUGS looks like this-
Teaching your students what each letter stands for and how to do it takes practice and modeling, and lots of it, but it's totally worth it. Using BUGS forces the students to look closely at the problem and really know what it says.
A problem solving method that allows students to demonstrate their understanding is called RICE.
To use the RICE method, students divide their paper (or desk, as you'll see below) into 4 sections. The first box is R for retell or restate (whichever you prefer). Students restate the important information. The 2nd box is I for illustrate. Students draw out a picture to solve the problem. C is for computation. This is where the number sentence magic happens. E is for explain. Students tell how they solved the problem. Just like with BUGS, you'll have to do a lot of these together. Before long, they'll be begging for math tasks!
Here are some examples-
Using the desk instead of paper has many advantages- more space to write, kids thought it was cool so they were excited to work the tasks, saved on copies and trees! I also used it as a behavior thing- if someone wasn't doing what they were suppose to, I traded their Expo marker for paper and pencil!
My students kept a dry erase marker and old sock in their school boxes- that plus manipulatives are all you need!
This is a handout I made when I wanted a hard copy of their work.
If you need some penguin math problems for this winter, check out this product I created-
Here are some great children's books that lend themselves to creating math problems.
Like what you see? Follow me!
Please share your experiences with math tasks and helpful resources in the comments!