As I'm grading them, I find one thing that is occurring often ... the steps are being listed in the response - that's good. For some, there are general explanations of the steps - that's a start. But what is missing is specific explanations that describe how the math problem was solved. It's not enough to list the steps and make general explanations. We need to take it to the next level and provide specific explanations. Basically, what I'm looking for is the thought process that goes through a student's mind as they are working out the problem.
For example, Mary has 6 cups of sugar. She uses 3 cups to make cookies, and 1 cup to make lemonade. How much sugar does Mary have left?
My response should be something like this:
First, I read the problem to find out what information I had to work with.
Second, I found what the problem was asking me to solve for to help me come up with an equation to solve.
Third, I underlined the important information in the problem to help me stay focused.
Fourth, I set up an equation to solve: 6 - (3 + 1) = n.
Fifth, I solved the problem by adding together the amount of sugar that Mary used (3 cups + 1 cup, = 4 cups). Then I subtracted the total amount of sugar used from the amount of sugar she had before she made cookies and lemonade (6 cups - 4 cups) and I got the answer: 2 cups of sugar left.
Sixth, I checked my work to see if my answer was reasonable and free of errors.
After solving the problem, I now know that Mary has 2 cups of sugar left.