It's the translating.
02232017, 03:02 AM


I'm working mostly in early childhood this year, so I deal with this problem more as a mom than as a teacher, but...
I can tell you that word problems frustrate kids because they feel their skills are not showing through. My own son has told me flat out "I can do the math, Mom, it's the language I don't understand!" He gets lost trying to figure out what exactly the problem is asking, and feels like grade is not acurately reflecting his actual math skills.
Ways to help are:
Emphasize early that math is a language, just like English or Spanish, and practice translating it in lowerpressure situations. Remind them that they've been doing this translating from the first time they used this symbol: + to mean "plus," and that they can do it.
When introducing new word problems, translate some together, on the board as you "think out loud," or in small groups, or whatever you think your class will respond to.
Give them some personallywritten word problems. Use names from your class and things in the students' actual lives. It helps to have this transition step that means a little more to them than typical textbook problems.
Have them make up word problems to go with computations you set. It helps some kids to kind of run the process backwards.
