- Implement a problem-solving program in which students solve just one word problem a day
- Mix up the types of problems you present so students have to use a variety of content knowledge and skills over time
- Keep problem solving sessions short at first - no more than 10 to 15 minutes a day - but as students start to look forward to these sessions, you can include longer problems that require more persistence
- Refer to word problems as "puzzlers," "brain teasers," or "stumpers," and present them as fun challenges rather than dreaded math problems
- Alternate cooperative learning strategies with independent work to add an element of fun while ensuring individual accountability
- Allow students to use calculators during problem-solving sessions
- Require students to show their work with pictures, symbols, or words, but don't require them to write complete sentence explanations for every problem they solve.
- After giving students time to solve a problem, reveal the correct answer up front and then spend the remaining time asking students to share strategies. Ask, "How many different ways can we discover to solve this problem?"
What are some of your favorite strategies and tips for helping kids to thaw out math brain freeze and enjoy solving problems?