The “Problem of the Day” is probably one of my favorite routines for the classroom! I ended up starting this routine as prep work for the story problems that are on the Kindergarten IOWA test… and my kids just love it! It’s the perfect introduction to mental math for little Kinder minds!
I know a lot of teachers do math journals with their kids, which is somewhat similar. I have thought about doing those, but unfortunately the IOWA Test doesn’t allow for students to use scrap paper to solve their math problems, so I use my problem of the day to focus on counting with our fingers.
(Obviously when I teach my addition and subtraction units, we do many more hands on activities, but this is a quick five minute review… or introduction! I actually use the problem of the day with my class long before I teach my addition and subtraction units!)
Anyway… back to this quick routine! (I promise, it takes way longer to explain than it actually takes to do!)
I pick a student to be in the problem, and replace the name in the story with their name.
Then, I have the students turn to their partner for a turn and talk (I have assigned partners in the classroom which change monthly.) I tell the class this little poem:
(This helps avoid the students all saying “I don’t have a partner!” when someone is absent or on the computer.) I tell them to be sure that both their knees are touching – this also helps to make sure that they’re looking at their partner and focused!
Then, I’ll pick a partner to go first (perhaps the partner with longer/shorter hair). That student has to tell their partner the answer and explain their reasoning for it. For example, “I know the answer is two because I started with five fingers up, then put three fingers back down.”
It really interesting to hear the kids reasoning behind their answer. After giving them enough time to discuss, I count backwards from five so the students finish up their answer.
Next: it’s time to see who was listening! I call on students to explain their partner’s answer to me! This really improves their listening skills! I then repeat visa-versa and have the other partner explain their answer.
The kids just love this routine… they really love hearing their names in the story and sharing their answers/explanations with their partner. And the best part… it really improved their listening and math skills and it made a major difference in my IOWA Test scores!!
Here’s a quick preview of how cute the questions look… and they’re super easy to cut as well!
Print them, laminate, and cut the paper into fourths. I keep my problems organized by hole punching the corner of each card and using a binder ring to hold them together.
Then, each day I just turn one page and read the next problem.
To see the bundle for the whole year, click on this picture:
To see each individual month, click the pictures below! Scroll down to April to grab a free month!!!