I had been teaching a standard 4 class of mixed ability students. For much of the first few weeks of the term, I had little cause for concern. The class of twenty-two students was working diligently to complete 1-step worded problems involving the 4 operations. A few weeks earlier, I had managed to remediate issues relating to the division algorithm. I was ecstatic about completing the worded problems with similar mastery. Previously, three of my students had struggled with regrouping in subtraction and they were finally efficient with it. These students had problems comprehending words within story problems. Their struggle revolved around reading. As the weeks went by and much of the class transitioned to more difficult problems these students struggled.
One morning I decided to implement the following chart to help the struggling students. Immediately one student was able to solve a basic division word problem. I was thrilled, and the children themselves were emboldened to use the chart. I had photocopied the chart and stuck it into their books. I even made a classroom version of it for the entire class to use if needed. As the time went on, I noticed that although students were solving some problems accurately, others worded problems were terribly wrong. The cause of this inaccuracy became glaring with one particular problem.