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Joined: May 2009
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trishg1
 
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Joined: May 2009
Posts: 10,427
Senior Member

Old 07-13-2012, 04:29 AM
 
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Here's how I combat "I can't" with anything (this came from a mission trip). One of my girls was convinced she couldn't help with gutting houses. The problem was that her mask was too tight. After we fixed her mask, she worked like a fiend.

Can't is not a noun. The complete phrase is "I can't do it." Let's figure out what it is. This is naming it. Second, own it. IT is something that needs to be overcome. IT is a problem. So now that you own it, fix IT. And once you fix it, you can do it. That became a mantra on that trip; Name it, own it, fix it, do it.

How do you apply this to math problem solving? Make them look at the problem. Without using "I can't" identify the part you don't understand. Name it. Now that it is named, there is a solution. Always. Can't has no solution-ever. But a named problem always has a problem.

I teach 6th, and usually only have 1 or 2 that like math. Last year they all hated math. It makes no sense to them. There is no reason for it. They don't think that they are math minded, and I try to point out little things that they do that show me that they really are math minded (the ones who are)

For my students, it is usually understanding which operation to use. I will have them make a cheat sheet to keep in their math binders for this.

Fractions is also a problem. I use flowcharts with yes-no questions to guide them through processes of simplifying and add/subtract. They also create them and put them in their binders.
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