Why I Don't Teach Problem Solving Key Words PLUS A Giveaway & Exciting Jamberry Updates

Hi everyone! Happy New Year! I am checking in with a little discussion on why I DON'T teach key words for problem solving in math class. I also have a giveaway for you and some exciting updates on my favorite hobby, Jamberry Nail Wraps! Read on to find out about everything!



I have been thinking a lot about math lately! I used to spend time on teaching key words - you know, discussing what key words mean, why they were important, what the key words were, what operation you should use when you see them... we would go through the problems and circle, underline, highlight and more. BUT... now I am straying away from teaching them. WHY? Well, I actually find key words can confuse students. Plus, I don't want them taking too many shortcuts to solve problems, because if they do so, they may not really understand the problem, or how math works. If  they just memorize that "in all" means addition, sure they might get the correct answer but I really want them to understand why addition works for it. Also, so many times students use other strategies besides straight computation to solve a word problem. For example, when trying to solve the problem: "Kate has 14 blueberries. Tim has 5. How many fewer does Tim have?" sure, some kiddos will subtract 14-5 but a LOT will find the missing addend by doing 5 + ___ = ? and they will count up or back, therefore using addition to get the answer to a subtraction problem. You see what I mean?

I can't take all the credit for my decision not to teach key words (for the most part -honestly, I do occasionally admit to a student "Well, if the problem asks, 'How many donuts total?' total means you should add the numbers together".). About 2 months ago I went to an AMAZING Greg Tang workshop. If you have not been to his free website www.gregtangmath.com you are crazy! Get on it! Well, Greg Tang mentioned that key words are confusing and it may not be the best strategy to spend class time on. He gave a great example, which pretty much sealed the deal for me. The word "MORE". Most of us would quickly just say, "Oh, the key word more mean addition". For example, I get 6 more coconuts means you had some and you are adding more to what you have, so solve by adding. BUT what about the problems where someone has 3 coconuts and someone has 10 and they ask how many MORE does one person have? That is a comparison number story that can be solved by subtraction, or addition (counting up to figure out the missing addend). Check out these examples (which by the way were nice and neat and side by side in my blogger draft):

                                                                                                                                                           

Again, I am not saying I NEVER talk about key words but I am definitely way more cognizent about the pitfalls of doing so and have been steering clear of them. I keep seeing all these awesome anchor charts and pins on Pinterest about them so I know some amazing teachers do successfully teach them. What do you think? Do you teach them or not?

By the way if your kiddos need some word problem practice, you may want to check out my Winter Addition and Subtraction Number Stories Pack. Lots of fun ways to practice! Click here or on the image to see it at TPT.


NOW onto the Jamberry updates and giveaway! 

Jamberry has some amazing new incentives for those of you that host a party in January (your party must start and end in January). I made a short video to explain some (but not all) them to you - check that out here.




If you have NEVER tried Jamberry nail wraps, click here for a FREE sample or on the link/pictures of my Jamicure in the right hand sidebar! Questions about Jamberry? E-mail me!

Or read why you should host a Facebook party this month! (If you already know you want to, click here to request your party)

Reason 1: Exclusive Lacquer Set
I LOVE this exclusive lacquer set The colors are so pretty and there is an exclusive 3-D mixed metals embellishments bottle. It is an exclusive set that can only be earned by hostesses of qualifying parties in January. You can't buy it anywhere- even consultants like me have to have their own parties to earn it!

   
 



Reason 2: Double Half Off Items
Only in January will hostesses earn DOUBLE half price items on all parties that reach $400 in sales. Instead of earning 5 half price items, hosts earn TEN half price items with $400 in party sales!

Reason 3: Mini-Heater Incentive
Here's a little incentive from me! Check out the cool (well "hot" is more like it) deal if you book your party to start on one of these dates!

Reason 4: January Snow Jam Shuffle
Check out this fun game board  I made for January hostesses! When your sales reach each of the special spots you earn fun hostess rewards!



Reason 5: A half sheet of nail wraps in addition to your awesome hostess kit
Here are some of the half sheets I have just waiting for you!



BONUS REASON:
Jamberry just introduced a ton of fun Spring holiday wraps.You can earn these with your party hostess rewards and your friends will totally want to get their own too! I already gave in and ordered 4 of the Valentine's Day wraps! (PLUS: Facebook parties are FREE! I do the work and you have fun with your friends! Request your party here or e-mail me with questions!)




NOW ONTO THE GIVEAWAY!
The prizes are (1) free $15 Jamberry product credit and (2) half sheets of accent nails to be given to 3 random winners chosen by Rafflecopter! Please read the details below in the Rafflecopter and enter away! Lots of fun ways to win!




PS: One more reminder. Click here to request a party or e-mail me!

28 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Me too! I somehow ended up with 2 sets of it so I have been sending half sheets to my party hostesses.So pretty and fun!

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  2. Bex, I loved this blog post and I love Greg Tang's books!! You are so lucky to have gone to one of his workshops. I also agree that teaching key words is not the most effective strategy in problem solving (I am learning about that in my research), so thank you for sharing this and explaining it so clearly! I am going over to check out Greg Tang's website now - thank you :)

    Happy New Year
    Kylie
    Ripper Reading Resources
    http://ripperresources.blogspot.com.au/

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    Replies
    1. Kylie, Happy new year and glad you enjoyed the post! I am glad you understand where I am coming from! Thanks for coming by! My students LOVE the kakooma game on his site, by the way!
      Bex

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  3. I agree. In addition to the problems you mentioned, there are more and more of the problems that say things like this: Suzy has 100 dollars. Suzy has 35 more than Ben. How much does Suzy have.
    Most kids would look at that one and do 100+35 because it says MORE.

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    Replies
    1. Yes Beth! If you check out all of the types of word problems that are covered by the CCSS, those types of problems are in their so teachers are often doing those types, so you make a good point that they would also confuse students!

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  4. I really like the love spell designs!

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    Replies
    1. Love Spell is awesome! It has only been out for a couple days and it is already a top seller! http://redheadmanicures.jamberrynails.net/product/love-spell#.VKhCaorF-1I

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  5. I'm totally with you- I don't teach key words anymore. I can see why some do- for MOST problems, it works- but for those problems that don't just make math more confusing.

    Once my school switched to using some aspects of Singapore Math, I really loved how using bar models put an emphasis on my kids understanding what was really happening in the problem. Thinking in terms of parts and wholes and letting kids truly examine each problem without learning some formula and it was SO much more successful than just letting kids skim for one or two "key words."

    Great post!

    Jenny

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Jenny! I have been doing a lot of bar models lately! I love them!

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  6. So many cute ones, but I think that the love spell set is adorable! And the midnight celebration looks really classy.

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    Replies
    1. I agree! I wore midnight celebration for New Year's but it would be pretty any time!

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  7. I really like Midnight Celebration...so pretty. And it would match 99% of my outfits!

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  8. I'm really liking that Vintage Deco.

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    Replies
    1. Vintage Deco is SO fun Brenda! Thanks for stopping by , and by the way, love your avatar!

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  9. Replies
    1. I just got Love Spell Julia and I can't wait to try it!

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  10. I love the st. patrick's day wraps.

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    Replies
    1. I am Irish so you KNOW I will be rockin' those, Jillian!

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  11. right now i like the love spell wrap

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  12. I love ice:) I also like that there are matching juniors!
    Deniece

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  13. Gold glitter is my all time favorite!

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  14. Your "more" example is actually a comparison problem so you are being asked to find the difference. This signifies subtraction.
    I think key words are helpful to point out to students but they can't overlook the full meaning. I always tell my 2nd graders total can be addition or multiplication (which they don't learn about until Feb/March) but then it would have other indicators such as equal groups, each, every...
    Students really vary and they need a variety of approaches.

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