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    Word Problems
    By Elaine

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    Along with those tips mentioned by the previous poster, you may want to try a strategy I use called SOLVED.

    S = state the problem (identify question)
    O = options to use (add, subtr., mult., etc.)
    L = links to the past (useful prior knowledge)
    V = visual aids (diagram, chart, # sentence, etc.)
    E = execute the answer (do the math)
    D = do look back (check resonableness of answer)

    At first when I introduce the stategy we go over the letters and their meanings. Then I create practice worksheets with an EASY (at first) word problem at the top of each page and SOLVED down the left side, allowing plenty of space between each letter for students to show their mathematical reasoning and work.

    Students are required to write something in for every letter of SOLVED. I use a scoring guide, and students know that they can earn more points for showing evidence of using the strategy with minor computation errors than if they show no evidence of strategy use but get the correct answer.

    After awhile, I don't hand out the prepared sheets. Students just know to write the letters down the left side of their own paper. At first my students try to convince me that they don't need SOLVED to get the answers. I assure them that when the problems get harder, SOLVED will most certainly come in handy.

    It's exciting to see students who originally have no idea (and no confidence in themselves) about how to even approach a word problem beam with pride when they find success using SOLVED.

    To make it fun, challenge students to make up a chant or rap for the acronym SOLVED!

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