story problems Archives | Tales from Outside the Classroom

Addition & Subtraction Word Problem Types

Word problems are often a teacher’s biggest struggle in math. Have you said things like “The kids don’t understand them.” and “They grab the numbers out and do a random operation.” We try so many different methods to try and help, and they fall short. Because often, our focus isn’t on teaching students the operations explicitly. And teaching them explicitly is what we need to do! The Common Core State Standards lay out the different

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Why your Kids Struggle with Word Problems and what to do sintead

Why Your Students Struggle with Word Problems

If you’ve been a teacher for any longer than a year, you know many of your kids struggle with word problems. And by many, it could be most of your kids. Or, it could be just a few but it happens every single year. You might have tried a variety of problem solving strategies with students. You might have found one you really like and think will be “it” but then still have a crew

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Part-Part-Whole visual

Part-Part-Whole with Addition and Subtraction

Teaching part-part-whole relationships is critical while teaching addition and subtraction.  For students to build a solid understanding of addition and subtraction, they need to understand what each one represents.  While helpful when working with equations with unknowns in all areas, it’s imperative that students have a solid understanding of addition and subtraction so they’re able to apply both skills in real world scenarios.  Understanding part-part-whole is a much more effective strategy to teach for problem

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Halloween Word Problem Integration Project

An Art Filled Halloween

I work at an arts integration magnet school.  We’re all at various levels of comfort with our art integration and I am often looking for new and different ways to incorporate the arts into our day.  Part of our job as classroom teachers isn’t just to have the arts present in our classroom, but to also teach relevant concepts with the arts.  I have learned a lot in my first couple years in this building,

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How to be a Problem Solving Ninja: Steps for Word Problem Success

Teaching Students to be Problem Solving Ninjas

For years I taught my students the same problem solving process. I wasn’t invested in it and I didn’t think it was the best. But, it was something I had found online for free. This year I spontaneously put a new twist on it, and it’s worked for my students better than ever before.  As I was telling students they need to go through the steps to attack the problem, I added on that they

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Hi! I'm Tessa!

Tessa Maguire image

I’ve spent the last 15 years teaching in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grades, and working beside elementary classrooms as an instructional coach and resource support. I’m passionate about math, literacy, and finding ways to make teachers’ days easier. I share from my experiences both in and out of the elementary classroom.

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