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### Solve Math Word Problems in 6 Easy-to-Follow Steps

Many students have difficulty mastering word problems. We have a solution that helps students break apart a word problem into six easy-to-follow steps. In following these steps, students will learn to focus on the information and sequence that is helpful to solving the problem.

Use this template <free download> to make following these steps even easier.

#### 1. Underline the Facts

Students should carefully read the problem and then determine which facts give them the information they need to solve the problem.

#### 2. Highlight the Question

Focusing on the question will give clues as to what operation should be used to solve the problem.

#### 3. Circle the Operation

Focusing on this step allows students to use the information gathered in the first two steps to make their decision about the operation and then move on to the next step.

Students who struggle with word problems may specifically struggle with the words that indicate the operation. Work with students to recognize these words and what operation they indicate: in all (add), how many more (subtract), how many left (subtract), etc..

Tip: In addition to circling the operation, have students write the operation. This will help students make the connection between words like “how many more” and the operation
subtract.

#### 4. Write the Equation

This important step is a result of determining the operation and then using the information from the facts. Writing the equation says: “I know how to do this problem.”

#### 5. Solve the Problem

This is the computation part of the process. Students will solve for the answer.

#### 6. Write Your Answer in a Sentence (Does it make sense?)

Writing the answer in a sentence helps reinforce the problem-solving process. Asking students to think about whether or not the answer “makes sense” helps them check the answer and see it in the context of the problem.

Following these steps will help students master one-step word problems so that when extra information appears in their word problems, they can differentiate the important versus the unimportant information.
Tip: Have students use different colored crayons or markers for two-step word problems. This will help each operation stand out. Plus students will love getting to use markers in math class!

Check out our two Step-by-Step Word Problems activity books that are packed with practice activities using these 6 easy-to-follow steps. The books feature three to four levels of practice. As the levels progress, students are challenged to apply their skills. Word problems include multi-digit addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division with and without regrouping.

### Classroom Activities for All of April

Plan ahead with these fun activities and free downloads to get you through April Fools, Earth Day, and National Poetry Month

3 April Fools Jokes to Play on Your Students

• Give your students this "pop quiz". Use our April Fools pop quiz <free download>. Tell your students, "Be sure to read all of the questions before beginning, but the first person to complete the quiz with all of the answers correct will win a candy bar!" The questions on this April Fools quiz are obscure, but the last question instructs the students to not answer any of the questions, just write their name and turn in the quiz. Success will be based on how well your students follow directions.
• At the end of the school day say to your students, "I'm very disappointed in how few of you turned in your essay that was due today! You may make up the assignment by writing five additional pages on the original topic and turn the entire essay in to me, tomorrow." Enjoy the students' reactions and choose how far you take it from there before you yell "April Fools!"
• Write every students' name on the board with random information next to each name, for example dates, letters (A-F), vocabulary words, and/or numbers. Do not explain anything to the class. If a student asks what it's about, simply say, "I'll tell you after lunch." Watch your students squirm and sweat all morning in anticipation. At lunch remove the names and write "April Fools!" on the board.

Earth Day Activities

Trash-less Tuesdays
Try having a "Trashless Tuesday" each week of the month of April. Do this by encouraging your students to bring reusable containers to lunch on Tuesdays and to avoid bringing anything that needs to be thrown away (i.e. no prepackaged food) to help cutback on waste.

Two Recycling Activities
For the next two activities have each student bring in one clean, recyclable item to class: glass, plastic, paper, or metal. You should also bring in a few items for those students who will forget, and to add to the mix.

Use the students' items to work on graphing skills. Either give each student a blank graph <free download> or put one on the board to complete. Ask students who brought a glass item to raise their hands and count them; add that number to the graph. Do the same for the other categories. Now have students create a bar graph, line graph, or pie chart using the information you've gathered.

Now, it's time to recycle. Turn recycling into a classifying game. Have students trade their item with another student in the class, as they may already know in which category their item belongs.  Put four boxes at the front of the class labeled: glass, plastic, paper, and metal. Then, have students take turns putting items in the correct receptacle.

Activity Book Suggestions
More Recycling Tips for Your Classroom

National Poetry Month
For some quick tips on where to get started with poetry in your classroom, use our Teacher's Guide to poetry <free download> in the classroom pulled from our Writing Basics Series: Writing Poems, which gives students lots of practice writing traditional forms of poetry such as couplets, quatrains, and haikus as well as the non-traditional free-verse form.

• What do you think the poem is about?
• Where did the poem take place?
• Who is the speaker in the poem?
• How did that poem make you feel?
• Why do you think the poet wrote the poem?
By asking these questions (and more) after each poetry reading, by the end of the month students will begin analyzing poetry without your prompting. Also by listening to you read poetry, students will better understand the rhythm and flow of poetry.

Write a Ransom Note Poem
Have students write a poem (the shorter the better with this activity). Then let them rummage through magazines to find the words from their poem. Encourage students to make the more important words or words that need more emphasis to be larger. Then, have them cut and paste the words and letters onto a piece of construction paper. It's a colorful way to display your students' poetry.

3 Kid-friendly Poets Include:
Smilies & Metaphors activities from our Writing Basics Series: Writing Poems

### Test-Prep Tips for Teachers & Students

Test Giving Tips
Take some of the anxiety and anticipation out of test day by making your classroom a test-friendly environment.
•  Set the mood by playing calming music as students come into class.

•  Give tests at the beginning of the day when students' attentions are still alert and focused.

•  Give your students each a magic pencil (no. 2 of course)--they come in fun colors and designs. Or get creative and have students decorate their no. 2 pencil with glitter and stickers the day before the test to help them relieve some pre-test stress.

•  Have extra sharpened pencils available in case of breaks so students aren't sharpening pencils during the test.

•  Stock your classroom with plenty of books for students who finish tests quickly.