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A Go Figure Debut for a Teacher from Nevada Who Is New!

Natalie Trouten
Natalie is an elementary teacher from Nevada. That's Nev-a-da, not Nev-ah-da!  (Did you know that “Nevada” is Spanish for snow covered? It is also known as the "Battle Born State" because it achieved statehood during the Civil War.) She has been teaching for 12 years, and currently teaches fifth grade. She describes her teaching style as flexible differentiation.

She is married with three incredible (that's the adjective she uses) children: two boys, ages 19 and 15, and her "baby" girl who she says is 10 but is going on 16. This is her third year as a TPT seller, and she loves the new friends she has made from the TPT site, blogs and Facebook pages! When she is not teaching (or grading papers), she is usually hiding in a corner with a good book.

Natalie has 78 different resources in her Teachers Pay Teachers store, 15 of which are free. One of those free items is a set of Reading Strategy Posters to be used before, during and after reading. It is a great elementary display to remind students of reading strategies such as words with literary and informational text. It is geared for grades 1-5. I have looked at it and feel it is a quality resource worth downloading.

One of Natalie’s paid resources is a 24 page Novel Study
that will work with any novel! (I like generic resources
Paid Resource
that can be used over and over again.) You can use these novel study pages for individual work, as part of literature circles, reader’s workshop or with whole class novels. You can utilize the entire set as a packet or pick and choose what will work best with the particular novel you are using in your classroom.
  • comprehension organizers
  • vocabulary activities
  • journal assignments
  • rubrics
  • reading goals and reflections
Natalie also has a blog called It’s Elementary. I personally checked it out and found some very interesting articles. Why not take a moment and do the same thing, and while you are there become a follower?

Top Ten Reasons for Getting Stuck when Problem Solving

A good process problem uses no set algorithm to find the solution. It requires a variety of processes (problem solving strategies) to find the solution. It is a problem that is easy to understand, is interesting, perhaps even whimsical, and has numbers sufficiently small enough so that lengthy computation is unnecessary.

Standard Word Problem: Jack's family plans to rent a camping trailer for vacation. The rent is $22.50 a day. What will it cost to rent the camping trailer for one week?

A Problem that Requires Problem Solving: Drew and Addie are playing a game. At the end of each game, the loser gives the winner a chip. When they are done playing several games, Drew has won three games, but Addie has three more chips than she had when the game began. How many games did Drew and Addie play?

So what happens when your students try to do the process problem above and they have no idea what to do? In my last posting, I listed ten reasons why students get stuck when problem solving. Now let's consider why students get stuck in the first place.

Top Ten Reasons for Getting Stuck in the First Place:
  1. You tried to rush through the problem without thinking.
  2. You did not read the problem carefully.
  3. You don't know what the problem is asking for.
  4. You don't have enough information.
  5. You are looking for an answer that the problem isn't asking for.
  6. The strategy you are using doesn't work for this particular problem.
  7. You are not applying or using your strategy correctly.
  8. You failed to combine your strategy with another strategy.
  9. The problem has more than one answer.
  10. The problem cannot be solved.

Since students today tend to be more visual than anything else, a graphic organizer becomes a valuable math tool. The Triangular Graphic Organizer is generic so that it can be used to solve all kinds of formula problems such as: d=rt, A=lw, or c= a2 + b2. 

This five page handout explains in detail how to use the graphic organizer. It also contains several examples as well as a page of blank triangular graphic organizers to copy and use in your classroom.

Want the answer to the process problem? 

Check out the page above entitled: Answers to Problems.