The first day is your introduction of the S.M.S. Method to your students. Using a large piece of oak tag, carefully label the four steps. The more colorful and expressive the poster is, the easier it will be for all your students to see it and feel eager to use it as a guide. In Algebra it is very advisable to have each student record the steps in his or her own notebook as follows:
Step One: Knowing Your Problem
Step Two: Making a Plan
Step Three: Carving Out Your Plan
Step Four: Testing Your Solution
On the first day, the introduction, it is a very good practice to draw more questions from your students and to include their ideas in step one. Let them feel that they are active in developing the plan. As a summary, choose a simple algebraic word problem and run through the use of the Method with them. For homework you can assign a simple word problem and tell them to list the steps in their solving of the problem.
On the second day you should begin with a summary or a review of the S.M.S. steps that were given on the first day. It is a good practice to check their notebooks to see the homework problem and to make sure they have copied the steps correctly.
Using an overhead projector or the blackboard, display the homework problem for a class discussion of procedures and different possible plans.
Assign about 10 similar problems for homework and tell them to begin in class. Walk around and help them get started.
Find a page in their mathematics text book that will introduce some new concepts in Algebra and also contain some word problems. Have them read aloud today and have various discussions on ideas and vocabulary mentioned in these sections.
Hand out a study guide for a test that will be given on day 5, Lesson 5. Let them fill in the study guide for homework.
Have prepared about 10 or 15 word problems that you have creatively made up; include the words and concepts that have been already introduced in the readings and discussions. Let your students begin using the S.M.S. Method to solve all of these problems, and when most of them are through, begin a class discussion of these problems. This is a review for a test tomorrow. Let them study for the test as homework.
Prepare a well written test of the week’s work. Allow the entire period to work on them.