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Kelsey Fahey

MAED 3224

Professor Hahn


Clinical Reflection

The major goal of my lesson was for the students to use their knowledge of addition facts to

help them solve subtraction word problems. The standard my lesson addressed was

CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.1.OA.C.6, which covers adding and subtracting within 20,

demonstrating fluency for addition and subtraction within 10. Use strategies such as counting

on; making ten; decomposing a number leading to a ten; using the relationship between

addition and subtraction; and creating equivalent but easier or known sums.

For this lesson I used the PearsonRealize interactive program using the smart board. We began

by solving problems with missing addends as a class. For example, we would read 5+__=12

together then figure out the answer is 5. We did a couple of those until they seemed to answer

them easily. Then came the hard part; word problems. One thing my students really struggle with

is taking the time to actually read the entire problem then figure out what they are solving for.

Majority of them just see the numerical numbers in a sentence of words and assume they just

need to add those two numbers to get the right answer. We would read the problem as a class, for

example, 9 cats chase a ball. Some cats stop to eat. Now there are 4 cats chasing the ball. Stan

says 13 cats stop to eat because 9+4=13. Do you agree of disagree with Stan?. The students all

quickly jumped to the conclusion that he was right and they agreed, most likely because they saw

a 9 and a 4 in the problem. We had to break the problem down piece by piece to figure out what

exactly the problem was asking us to solve for. The first thing I asked was for them to re-read the
first line and tell me what the total number of cats were. We figured out there are 9 cats total, so I

have them draw 9 circles on their worksheets to represent the total number of cats. I then asked

them to read the second part that says some stop to eat. I ask if they know how many some is, a

couple of them say 4, but after discussing and looking at it again, they realized some is an

unknown because it doesn't tell you specifically the number of cats that stopped. I had them

circle/underline the word some on their worksheets. Then I ask them to read the last part that

says now there are 4 cats. I have them repeat now there are 4 cats a couple of times, and I ask

how many cats are there now until they confidently knew it was 4 cats remaining. I ask them

Stan says the answer is 13, why is that not right? and the students argue that since there are 9

cats total, there is no way the answer can be above 9; so he has to be wrong. I agree with the

students and tell them the number cant be bigger than 9, but they still needed to figure out the

answer. We go back to their drawing of the 9 circles. I read the problem out loud again and we

figure out how we can use our picture to help us figure it out. The problem says there are 4 cats

remaining, so I tell them to circle or color in 4 of their 9 circles. I then ask the class what

operation should we need to use to solve the problem. We figure out since some of the cats are

staying/ being taken away, we needed to use subtraction. Now that they know this is a

subtraction problem, I ask them to figure out their answer and show work from the method they

used. As I walked around, I saw some counting the circles, I saw some using a number line to

jump, and I saw a few use a part-part-whole.

Based off their scores on their math benchmark test for that quarter, almost all of them had

missed questions asking them select all the strategies they could use to solve the problem. It is a

really hard concept for them to think they can circle multiple choices and they all be the correct.

We practiced these a little to prepare them for the next benchmark test. I wrote the problem 7 +
9= ____ on the board and asked them all the solve it and show their work on their paper. The 4

strategy choices given for these problems are; 10 frames, doubles plus 1, doubles plus 2, my

way. After a couple minutes, I asked some volunteers to share how they solved the answer.

Every time a student explained their strategy, I wrote it on the board and we solved it as a class

using that given strategy. If the strategy worked, we put a checkmark next to it. After all was said

and done, we took a step back to look at the board and all the strategies we used to solve the

same problem. We discovered that all strategies, except doubles plus , could be used to help

them figure it out. We talked about how normally on multiple-choice questions on tests, you can

only circle one answer to be right. I told them for these problems they need to read the directions

that tell them to select all that apply, not just one. This concept is still confusing to them, but they

are definitely making improvements and with more practice, they should do just fine on their

next benchmark.

With the results of my exit tickets, it seems like I have a very low performing class. After seeing

the misconceptions and how students chose to solve the problems, I realized it wasn't the math

they struggled with, it was reading the word problem. It was frustrating to see so many students

score poorly on these problems that seemed so simple. The reason they had skipped reading the

problem and just took 9 and 5 and added them together is because they had so much trouble

reading the work problem. Given a numerical equation, they could figure that out easily. The

second you start making them read to figure out what they need to solve for, they just kind of

guess and use the numbers within the problem. My CT had expressed her frustration with

situations like that, but I didnt realize how bad it was until I taught it and saw it for myself.

Previously, the teacher had been able to read the word problems out loud to the class for them to

solve. With the rules being changed, the first graders are now expected to read and solve the
problems on their own. Along with learned new math skills, these students will now need to

improve their reading skills. We see math and reading being taught and tested as two different

subjects, but word problems force the students to do well with both. If they cant read the

problem, the math will most likely be incorrect, causing them to get the entire question wrong. I

found all this really unfair because even the best math students were getting wrong answers, and

it caused them to be really discouraged. I think this class has a lot to work with involving

improving their reading skills. Most of them are good at math and understand numbers well, but

they arent the best readers. While both subjects are obviously very important to learn, I think its

important to test them differently so we as teachers can more easily pinpoint each students

weaknesses and areas they need help in. Without properly assessing the answer choices of these

word problems, one may assume the weakness is math and has nothing to do with the reading