Saturday, March 29, 2014

Five for Friday~Story Problems

Hi, Friends! How are ya? It’s time for another Five for Friday!


It’s been an amazing day! It’s after midnight so, I guess I should say…yesterday was an amazing day! It started with the mad dash out of the door after missing the first go ‘round with the alarm clock. Just before dismissal, the heavens opened and rained down golf ball sized hail! In true TX fashion….20 minutes later….the sun was shining and we were off and making a mad dash for the first night of our church’s Spring Awakening conference. I can hear my pillow calling, so let’s take a quick look-see at what went down in Room 159 this week. Ready?


This week, math was all about addition and subtraction using problem solving. This chart isn’t all that cutesy, but it served the purpose of introducing new math language to problem solving.  Simple, but significant and part of the process of learning…


Admittedly, I think we did a little more adding than subtracting. No worries though because this will be our focus in math again next week. We used this story problem to practice modeling different addition sentences for the same sum (with 2 addends).

Students worked in pairs with a set of ten frames to model “teen sums”. Each pair of students were assigned a number and worked to model all of the combinations for that sum beginning with 0 + the given number.  We started with 0 in order for students to see the pattern developing as their first addend increased and the second one decreased. One student in the group managed the ten frames and one was in charge of the marker.


On the next day, we moved to creating story problems in order to incorporate writing in math.


We dedicate one day each week to story problems. This week was a little different because rather than simply have students work to solve story problems, I had them start from scratch to create them. In doing so, students had to model their thinking using ten frames and use math language in their writing. Differentiation for ability determined how many counters each student was given.

Students dropped their counters onto their desks, then arranged them on ten frames and told a story to their shoulder buddy before beginning to write. I also modeled one on the whiteboard before expecting them to do this independently. Once their stories were written, students were given a sheet of drawing paper to illustrate the problem they had written. Notice the finishing touch? Even my witty class of mostly boys LOVES doodle frames!

Part of the learning process was being able to get thinking onto paper…not every student got what they thought and spoke written perfectly onto their papers, but that was part of the learning process too. My struggling readers/writers dictated their story problem to me. I wrote it on a sticky note and they copied it onto the writing paper.


Math is ALWAYS the most active time of day in our classroom. You can check out some of the activities we use to review skills in my little TPT shop! I’m blessed to be participating in a sale with over 200 fantastic blogging friends! Here are…..ummmm, just a few 100 or so of them…


You might’ve noticed that things at A+ Firsties have changed a bit. The little rainbow is my previous logo. You’ll find the new one at TPT looks like my updated button. Click HERE to grab a freebie to write a few story problems of your own! Have a great weekend!


  1. Love your new blog design!! Thanks for the story problem template! This will be great in math work stations.
    Ms. Jones’ Junction


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