My second graders recently experienced a new math assessment designed to represent the ideas from the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics (CCSSI 2010). In reviewing their responses, I determined that my students suffered from a lack of comfort or familiarity with solving math problems that demand critical-thinking skills. In an effort to increase their capacity to think through complex problems in the context of one of our secondgrade curricular goals involving coins, I presented a problem. I had never modeled this type of multistep problem for them. I was interested in discovering their solution strategies. After allowing students to work through the problem independently, I displayed the problem on a document projector, and class members shared their mathematical thinking and reasoning.
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Maria Eugenia “Genie” Albina, email@example.com, teaches second grade at Belding Elementary School in Chicago, Illinois. She focuses on helping students develop the ability to articulate their mathematical thinking.