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Four ebooks from Laura Candler

Grades 2 - 6

- Implement a classroom-proven success strategy
- Rely on materials field tested by teachers around the world
- Preview the ebooks online by clicking each book's cover
- Read what teachers have to say about the program
- Download a free Problem Solving Assessment to find out which levels are right for your students!
- Purchase more than one level to differentiate instruction and meet the needs of all students.

Click for International Versions of A and B

Problem solving is one of the most important, yet most neglected, areas of math instruction. Many math skills are relatively easy to teach, but teaching kids how to think through a problem in a logical manner is most definitely NOT easy! Yet why should we teach math at all if our students can't apply their knowledge to everyday life?

What if you could significantly improve your students' problem- solving abilities in just 15 minutes a day? A mere 15 minutes per day adds up to 45 hours of instruction on problem solving! Even 10 minutes a day would result in 30 hours of problem-solving instruction. What if you found a method that involved very little preparation yet provided a clear and sequential approach to problem-solving? And what if your students began to look forward to those 10 to 15 minutes of math instruction? What if they actually enjoyed the problems and asked you for MORE????

No need to wonder . . . Daily Math Puzzlers is that program! These math problems were field-tested by dozens of teachers all over the world, and their kids were actually asking for more! The program helped students develop confidence in their problem-solving abilities. As a teacher, you'll enjoy the step-by-step instructions for reviewing calculator skills, teaching problem-solving steps and strategies, and providing a variety of challenging and engaging math problems.

**The Daily Math Puzzlers are a complete problem-solving program!**

- Over 70 pages of lesson plans, teaching strategies, and blackline masters to implement a Daily Math Problem Solving program
- Step-by-step directions for introducing your students to calculator skills, including Calculator Practice activities, several Calculator Tests and Answer Keys, Reteaching and Enrichment activities such as Calculator Confusion and Blast Off
- Mini-posters of the problem-solving steps and strategies
- Easy directions for introducing kids to basic problem-solving strategies
- 20 problem-solving worksheets and an answer key
- Alternative Ideas for using the Problem-Solving Worksheets
- Templates for creating your own Problem-Solving Worksheets

Have you ever noticed how difficult it is to find time to teach problem solving? Most math textbooks have problem-solving strategy lessons in every chapter, but somehow I could never find enough time to teach those lessons. I knew that problem-solving was important, but in the interests of sticking to an instructional timeline, I ended up skipping those lessons because it was "time to move on."

So I decided to create my own math problem-solving program, one that I could implement in just 10 to 15 minutes a day. I knew I would need something simple yet effective, a program that didn't require me to search for new word problems every day. I developed and used this program last year, and I knew I had a winner when I saw my results on our state math exam. WOW! At the beginning of the year, only 62% of my students had passed the previous year's math exam. At the end of the year, 87% passed! This year I'm going for 100%!

After experiencing those results, I knew I had to share my program. The basic plan centers on the Daily Math Puzzler worksheet which has four word problems that can be solved in a variety of ways. You distribute the printable on Monday, and students work out the answer to the first problem. You quickly spot-check the answers and circle the "check plus" symbol for anyone who found the correct answer and showed all their work. On Tuesday, you teach a brief mini-lesson on how to solve that problem. Students correct their answers and move on to the next problem. If you follow that sequence, you'll wrap up the fourth problem on Friday. Simply collect the worksheets and assign a grade based on accuracy and class participation. It's that easy!

- Each worksheet covers an entire week's worth of problems
- The layout of the worksheet encourages students to demonstrate their thinking with pictures, words, charts, or symbols
- Each word problem has a simple built-in grading component consisting of a checkmark, a check minus, and a check plus. When you spot-check student work each day, circle the appropriate symbol. On Friday, it only takes a moment to assign a weekly grade.

**Program Design features include:**

- An optional introduction to Calculator Skills, including lessons, quizzes, reteaching activities, and a calculator game
- An optional introduction to Word Problem Steps and Strategies, including daily lessons, mini-posters, and blackline masters for each strategy
- A letter to send home to parents explaining the program
- Strategies for using the Activity Pages in other ways if you don't want to implement daily word problem practice
- 20 Activity Pages with a variety of word problems that cover measurement, geometry, graphing, probability, and more!
- Templates for creating your own Word Problem Activity Pages (Template currently available in Microsoft Word and Publisher formats)

Each book contains a set of problems designed for a particular grade level span, but the levels overlap due to student differences from school to school.

Level A - Grades 2, 3 and 4

Level B - Grades 3, 4, and 5

Level C - Grades 4, 5, and 6

Level D - Grades 5, 6, and 7

If you are trying to find out where to start your students in the program, download the free Problem Solving Assessment Power Pack and give them a quick pretest. This assessment will quickly show you your students' strengths and weaknesses in problem solving.

The free problem solving worksheets on this page do not have answer keys. However, the problem solving pages in the Daily Math Puzzler books do have answers.

I included calculator skills in the Daily Math Puzzler program because students in my state (NC) are allowed to use calculators on a portion of our state math exam. I have found that many students don't know how to use a calculator properly, and they need instruction in this area. If we hand them a calculator for the test but don't teach them how to use it, they will make careless errors that could be avoided. For example, calculators don't display dollar signs and ending zeros with money amounts. Many students don't know that 3.1 means $3.10 instead of $3.01. I also find that students are more willing to use higher-level thinking skills when they are solving problems if they don't have to worry about basic calculations. Computation skills are very important, but I don't teach them at the same time as problem solving.

You will have to be the judge of whether calculator instruction is needed in your classroom. I think it's an important life skill, but if your students are not allowed to use calculators on standardized tests, you can skip over the calculator activities. That portion of the Daily Math Puzzler program is optional, and leaving it out won't have a major impact on the success of the overall program.

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