As Common Core and more rigorous assessments hit our school, I had to adjust my teaching quite a bit. I have to admit, I love teaching my students not just how to perform mathematical operations, but WHY. I learned a lot of new things myself and math just makes so much more sense to my students.
This year, we have done more writing in math than ever before. We have completed exemplars in the past, but I wanted writing about math to be as natural as writing in the other subject areas. There are a lot of acronyms available for constructed and extended response questions – the most common one being RACE – restate, answer, cite, explain. While this one works great for the other content areas, I just couldn’t apply it to math.
You can download the free interactive notes that I use to teach this strategy here.
Here is how I implemented A.P.E.
I did not expect my students to use this acronym for all word problems – only constructed response math problems where I was using a rubric. I did not want to overwhelm them and make them dread constructed response questions! I graded the constructed response questions on a scale of 1 to 4.
Every math assessment that I administered had at least one constructed response question on it.
At least once a week at the beginning of math class, I gave my students “Entry Tickets.” These are short constructed response math questions that include a rubric. They had a time limit (no more than 10 minutes) to complete these. These were quick, easy, and told me a LOT about my students’ growth.
Here is an example:
A lot of my students naturally created three different columns on the sheet and labeled them A.P.E. They would show their work in each column and it helped keep their work organized.
As an added bonus, I also gave them some sort of small class reward each time they received a 4 out of 4 on these. Since I only gave them out once a week, it kept my students excited about working on them and trying their best.
If you are interested in these math response sheets, I have all of the fifth grade standards available in my store. The freebie above also includes an editable version of the math response sheet!
I hope you find this strategy helpful in your own classroom!