Getting started with solving addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division problems begins by asking teachers to rethink their existing ideas of teaching the operations and providing opportunities for teachers to see that children can solve problems without being taught the symbols, number facts, or number sentences.
Professional Development: Multiple Sessions
This sequence can be adapted to be longer or shorter but is designed for a series of sessions, each approximately an hour and a half in length.
Let’s support teachers to think about the operations, problems children can solve, and strategies they can use. Engage them in adding on to, challenging, and extending their current ideas.
- Implement the Context Matters Activity.
- Read Beginning Strategies for Problem Solving and discuss distinguishing features between Direct Modeling and Counting Strategies.
- Analyze the Problem Types Chart available here. Identify the differences in action in the problems.
- Ask participants to reflect on changes in their thinking about the operations as a result of this engagement. What questions remain?
Provide teachers the opportunity to use counting as a bridge to the operations. Connect to their own practice.
- Implement Extending Counting to Operations: Getting Started.
- Read Supporting Counting to Problem Solving. Pair share and discuss big ideas in whole group.
- Try it out. Provide collections of objects (see the Counting Collections Overview) and ask teachers to try out their own questions.
- Ask teachers to try counting a collection with students and asking them a follow-up question that requires them to join, separate, compare, or fair share.
Support teachers to assess students’ strategies for solving addition and subtraction problems.
- Implement Analyzing One’s Own Thinking to Learn About Children’s.
- Read Addition and Subtraction Assessment Protocol . Discuss this interview in relation to the Analyzing One’s Own Thinking to Learn About Children’s and create ways to go about eliciting and responding to young students’ potential responses.
- Watch Ben Learns How to Add and discuss.
- Ask participants to choose one problem they want to pose to a few of their own students and have them report back on their findings.