*Mrs. Anderson * English Landing *Winter

Problem Solver

Students successfully completed the Noetic Math Challenge lessons and took their first Noetic Challenge Test in mid-December. As a class, as well as individuals, we reflected on our work and wrote some goals for 2nd semester. Often times, it seems, our mistakes are made by making errors in our thinking or simply by not checking back to make sure we answered the question being asked.

During the last few weeks, we have been working on math problems from The Problem Solver, reviewing strategies learned in the past. For some students, these strategies are new. As students work on the problems, they learn to reason and to communicate in many different ways. Students represent their work by writing, drawing pictures or diagrams, making tables and charts.

We are practicing The Four-Step Method...a systematic approach to problem solving that can be used for solving any problem.

  1. Step 1 *FIND OUT

*What is happening in the problem?

  • What do I have to find out to solve the problem?
  • Are there any words or ideas I don't understand?
  • What information can I use?
  • Am I missing any information that I need?


  • Students will find that there is often more than one way to solve the problem. In some cases, the problem may have to be broken down into smaller problems before the larger problem can be solved.

3. Step 3 * SOLVE IT

  • It is very important during this step for the students to record their work in a way that lets them see what they have completed and if it allows them to find the one correct answer. This step is often skipped by my students as they tend to like to do their work in their head and many students see math faster in their heads or so they think. I encourage them to find a way to record their thinking in a way that makes sense to them, whether it is in picture form or a mathematical statement...checking their understanding and thinking about the problem.

4. Step 4 * LOOK BACK

After students have solved the problem, they should always check their answers by reading the problem again, looking back over each step, and checking their calculations. They should ask themselves:

  • Did I answer the question asked in the problem?
  • Is more than one answer possible?
  • Is my math correct?
  • Can I explain why I think my answer is correct?

As they learn and practice the problem-solving process, students will begin to see that the making of a plan and the execution of the plan are as vital as finding the correct answer. Information taken from The Problem Solver by Judy Goodnow and Shirley Hoogeboom


WordMasters Challenge 2 will be February 9th for 3rd graders & February 10th for 4th graders. Most students have completed putting their words and definitions in their Quizlet Set. I encourage the students to look at their words during the week to learn as much about each word as possible. We take time in class to understand how the words might be used together to make different types of analogies.


Friendships are some of the hardest things for gifted kids to learn to navigate. This is particularly true in school settings, where you often have to learn to work in collaborative groups, sharing responsibilities.

Success Secret # 56 Give other people a chance to be in charge.

You are a natural-born leader. You take charge of situations easily and have one of those personalities that just likes being the center of attention.

Most of the time, this is a good thing...sometimes your friends may want to be in charge...or pick a game...or be the one with the parachute that floats the longest.

Be sensitive to this. Allow your friends a chance to shine. They deserve it as much as you do.

101 Success Secrets for Gifted Kids--Christine Fonseca