Math Selfies, A Fun Strategy for Problem-Solving

Author: Nancy , Tags: Math

( words) minutes to read 

The math selfies strategy is a fun way for students to work through problems, but I think you’ll like the fact that it’s easy to use, simple to remember, and actually works with students!

Each letter is a step in the problem-solving strategy:

  1. Show my work
  2. Explain my answers
  3. Lots of math vocabulary
  4. Found multiple solutions
  5. I persevered
  6. Eliminated errors

Show my work

Let’s keep this simple, here are three easy ways for your kids to show their work:

  • Find the Error in a Gallery Walk (although sometimes older kids think these are lame!) – Finding the mistake is a great way for students to learn, and they have to show their work in order to find the error.
  • Check Mark Method – Expos on the desk instantly engages students and eliminates the boring worksheet and extra copies for you. Project and go! Make it a contest and give them a check on their desk when it’s correct!
  • Journal Proofs – Pair the students together to check each other’s work. Not only do they have to show their work, they also hold each other accountable for doing the work.
Math Selfie - A fun problem-solving strategy
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Explained my answers

Remember that feeling when the teacher called on you to explain the answer, and your heart sank to your ankles? Students don’t have to broadcast answers to the entire class. Try using these simple approaches to encourage students to explain their answers.

  • Share with a partner or small group
  • Write it in your journal
  • Gallery Walk and have one student stay behind to explain
  • Math Dating – Speed dating approach! (Love this one!)

Lots of math vocabulary used

This is a crucial step that you can easily embed into your everyday math class. Students can add vocabulary to the Gallery Walk (why is physical activity important?), keep tallies of how many times their partner uses the vocabulary in their explanations, underline the vocabulary in their journals. Make it a game to see who can use the most relevant math vocabulary throughout the class period.

Found multiple solutions

Sometimes in math, there truly are multiple solutions. Students can easily support each other to determine if multiple solutions truly apply to their problem. Make the Case (from Lead4Ward) is an excellent approach for students to justify their work and engage the class to defend/prosecute their answers.

I persevered through the problem

Math is not easy for everyone. Making sure students have strategies to persevere through the problem will help to make them better mathematicians. Try  this “Three Reads” approach:

  • Take your time!
  • Read through the problem
  • Read through the problem a second time and make a plan
  • Follow the steps
  • Read the problem again, did you answer the question?
  • Is your answer reasonable?
  • Check your answer for accuracy

Eliminated careless errors

It is so easy to make careless errors in MATH. Having students use the strategies above, and using a variety of methods to guide your students, will help them to easily eliminate careless errors. Let’s take a #Selfie!

Thanks for reading about the Selfie Math Strategy. If you enjoyed this strategy, please share with a friend.

About the Author

Instructional coach, Educational Administration, teacher, author, presenter, and super mom. Loves the water and sunshine.

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