If you have sharp eyes you might have noticed this "word problems" or "story problems" basket in the background the past few months. Montessori albums are always sneaking tiny little sentences into various spots in the math albums that some something to the effect of, "Children should be working with story problems/word problems regularly." I'm always looking for ways to make sure this happens. During primary I used the story problems from KHT Montessori (there are a bunch in the math support folders). You can take a look at how I formatted that work in this post. I also used sets from Montessori for Everyone. Kal-El had finished all of the collections I had and it was time for something new.
I'm not a fan of workbooks, but I found this series at the teacher supply store and the format was perfect for cutting up and putting on the shelf in a more Montessori way. Kal-El hadn't really had any exposure to graphing at that point. I looked through all of the levels and determined that he really should work through the problems starting with level one. The math skills are far easier than what Kal-El is working on otherwise, but I decided that it would be far more enjoyable for him to work through the problems if he approached the graphing and the new format from a secure place. So, I decided to buy:
Math Daily Word Problems, Grade 2
Most of the word problems are half-pages. I cut all the pages out of the workbook, laminated them (back-to-back to save space), and put them in a basket with a set of overhead markers. I also made a large tab that reads "finished." When he is in the mood, Kal-El works through as many word problems as he wishes, records the answer right on the card with the Vis-a-Vis markers, shows me his completed stack, wipes them clean, and then stores the completed cards behind the "finished" tab. Some of the problems are full pages. The full-page problems are all in the back of the basket. He knows every fifth word problem is full page and gets them as needed. He stores the completed ones under the basket.
Kal-El likes that the story problems are illustrated. Nobody liked that they ask you to write a "number sentence" instead of just saying "equation" like a regular person. Kal-El noted that, "People should just call things by their real names." We also like that each "week" (five problems) focuses on a different animal and the full-page graphing problem for each week includes a section of "zoology facts" (basically traditional Montessori "animal stories") about that animal. The boys had not been showing much interest in zoology lately and this has cracked that door open again.
I'm not worried about being stuck in the "first grade" level at this point because Kal-El works through about 20 problems at a time when he is in the mood. He has only worked with the basket a few times and is more than halfway finished. As soon as he is finished, I will make a second basket. Me Too will inherit the "first grade" basket and I will fill the new basket with "second grade" contents for Kal-El. I predict he will work through that book quickly as well. He has another Evan-Moor math book that he works in like other people would do crossword puzzles, so we call it his "math puzzle book." When I bought him that book I noticed that the fourth-grade book most closely matched the kind of math that he is working on in school at home, but he was asking for the book "for fun" so I bought one level back (third grade).