Mathematics is more than just calculating numbers. It is a lifelong skill that requires one be able to analyze a situation carefully, be flexible with numbers, and problem solve through difficulties. Beginning this month, we will begin to introduce mathematical mini-lessons that support students in becoming competent and confident problem solvers. Below, you will find mathematical mini-lesson #1 along with an anchor chart that can be used during the lesson and posted in your classroom. We hope you find this and the upcoming mini-lessons informative and worth your while.

Thank you,

Danielle Moore
Founder, Teaching One Moore
“Building confident and excellent problem solvers”

Mathematical Mini-lesson #1
Teacher: When mathematicians are given challenging problems to solve they, sometimes may get overwhelmed or confused about the problem that they are reading. When mathematicians get confused about a problem one thing that they might do is stop right away, back up, and reread the problem over and over until it makes sense. This is a very natural thing that all mathematicians encounter when they are reading problems.
Let me show you what happens when I (the teacher) get confused when reading a problem.
Teacher takes out a prewritten problem that is enlarged for the entire class to see. The teacher reads through a challenging sentence, stops (shakes his/her head to show confusion), and says, “That was confusing. I did not understand that. I am going to back up and read it again and then check with myself to make sure I understand.” Teacher rereads the problem over again.
Teacher turns to the class and says, “ Did you see how when I got confused I stopped, backed up, and read the sentence in the problem again? Let’s try one together”
Teacher takes out students’ problem for the day and prompts students to read through a sentence, stop, back up and read it again.
Teacher posts anchor chart (see attached), points to the anchor chart and prompts students to remember that it is natural to get confused while reading a problem and that when they are solving a problem on their own, and they get confused, they should stop, back up and reread.