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Problem Solving: Predicting with Evidence

2RTP_Page_1-768x1024As a math teacher I am used to telling students “Show your work!” I thought if the students shows their work I could see where they went wrong. What I realized this year  is that by the time the students began to solve the problem showing their work didn’t matter because the calculations were a product of their thinking. If the thinking is incorrect then the product of their thinking will also be incorrect. For example, I always knew that my math students were able to solve the first step in a multi-step word problem, but they were never able to get the second step correct.

For homework the students solve one problem per night for math homework. I know that some teachers and parents will not understand that it is the quality of how they solve the problem not the quantity of problems that are being solved.

predicting with evidence explanation

On Friday one of my students turned in her homework and I was so excited because first of all she had all the components of Read Draw Write and she wrote her predictions with evidence using the t-chart. This is my first year using Reciprocal Teaching with problem solving so I was unsure how this would look once the students began to use it. I was overjoyed when I could actually see her error in her thinking. It was plain as day! The error was at the second step which made caused the computation error therefore causing the answer to be incorrect as well.

I am so excited to see the positive results of implementing Reciprocal Teaching with problem solving. I this short time it has provided me with  the information that I need to correct the thinking process before computation errors occurr. I can’t wait until the end of the year to see how my student’s thinking will have changed over time!


  1. […] I’m sure you have heard the phrase “Reading is thinking.” In fact this statement is the absolute truth! This school year about one third of my students are ELLs or English Language Learners. Having so many ELLs requires that I focus on reading comprehension as well as math concepts. I can’t say that I am pro at finding a balance between the 2 because this is something that I haven’t done before. Well last week I implemented The Predictor, the first role in Reciprocal Teaching.  The students were required to discuss the problem using the the Read part of our problem solving strategy, Read Draw Write and then make a prediction with evidence. […]

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