Friday, April 24, 2015

A "Fundamentally" Sound Product!

Welcome! I'm so happy you're here! I'm really excited to be participating in this product swap party hosted by Jungle Learners. When I saw I was paired with Selma Dawani from Learning Fundamentals I was a bit intimidated! Her store is amazing. I'm looking forward to following her around the web because she is so knowledgeable about the ways kids learn and how to intervene when they need assistance. 

It took me a while, but I decided to try out her Word Problems for Second Grade. I knew this would be a bit of a stretch for my first graders, but it's close enough to the end of the year that I figured they could handle it.

I loved the thoroughness, the versatility, the learning focus of this product. There are many components to this product, but the main feature is the 35 CGI style word problems. This was a major selling point for me because I am an absolute believer in Cognitively Guided Instruction. The 35 problems are formatted in 3 ways. 

The first thing I did was choose a problem to give my whole class. About a third of my class got it right away. About a third got it with a little support, but another 3rd were completely lost. Honestly, I was a little surprised by how lost some of them were! This year has been pretty different because we've been using a new math series. I wrote a little about this in my post called, "My Mathematical Outrage," but I digress. 

This picture shows one of the kids who got it using a direct modeling strategy to solve. I had him share in an effort to help some of the others, but it was just too much.

Never fear, it was on to plan B! I mean this literally because I moved on to Problem Set B. This worked out much better for my class. It was awesome to have so many options! Here you can see some of my small groups working. 

My students and I really loved having the 100 chart right there on the paper. I think next year I definitely need to go back to using the 100s chart more often. Thank goodness I broke out Selma's word problems. In one of my groups, we modeled and practiced with the 100 chart extensively. I am so glad I used this with my students. It was really revealing.

While I was working with these small groups, I had a group of more independent students working on this little problem ring. Unfortunately, I didn't get a picture of it, but I used Problem Set A as an independent problem-solving challenge. I just wrote the answers lightly with pencil on the back of the strips of paper, laminated, and put them on a ring.  The variety of formats made it so easy to differentiate!

I was so excited about this next feature! There's a sheet of problems for students to solve. Next to each problem is a QR code. When students scan the QR code, it takes them to a video where they can hear and watch the problem being solved. I knew these kids wouldn't be able to solve it independently, so I skipped the step of having them try it themselves first. I had them just copy what they saw onto whiteboards. This kept them really engaged in the lesson. They worked like this for probably 30 minutes! 

They told me, "That guy was telling us lots of stuff to make us smarter and smarter."  Sometimes I wonder why a random voice on the internet telling them lots of stuff is somehow more significant than what I do....Actually, I learned a quite a bit from the video myself! He uses Singapore Math, which I'm only vaguely familiar with.

This is a screenshot from the video to give you an idea:

There's so much more to this packet that I didn't even get to try out! If you want to keep your students engaged and learning until the end of the year, this product is perfect. I plan to keep using these problems in small groups for the rest of the year.

Luckily for you, these Second Grade Word Problems are on sale! Also, Selma is giving away one of these 115-page packets! Enter below. I know you'll appreciate being connected with Selma. I love her research-based, functional products, and there are some cool freebies, too! She has one of the most unique stores I've seen. I'm excited to learn more about her approach to teaching. After entering the giveaway, head over to Learning Fundamentals & Educational Therapy to see my newly updated Math Task Challenge Cards.

If this is your first time visiting my blog, I hope you'll get connected with one or more of the buttons below. Please hop around and see what other products you can win or get on sale.


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  1. Although way beyond my Kindergartners this would be perfect for one of the second grade boys that I tutor. Thanks for discovering this product for us.

  2. Isn't Selma great!? Thank you for sharing a fabulous post, I'm glad you participated in the swap. Hope you had fun with it! :)

    Jungle Learners


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