Saturday, January 26, 2013

Adding & Subtracting Tens ... Plus a Freebie!

Hi, Teaching Friends!

There seems to be more every year to teach our little ones. The Common Core Standards can be a big pain (tried to think of a better word - no luck!), and a whole load of work for teachers to transition into. But I've got to say that I'm pretty impressed with the way the standards have broken down the big teaching ideas so that we can see what children really need to be successful in math.

With my background in Reading Recovery and literacy intervention, I'm used to thinking of literacy instruction in terms of strategies, but the standards have pushed me to apply that kind of thinking to math, too. And I think that's a good thing.

Take addition, for example. The standards highlight exactly what it is that students need in order to really embrace and assimilate the "whole". We've always known that mastering the concept of addition requires much more than fact memorization, which is why there's been so much more emphasis on the concrete and representional steps.

But taking the teaching/learning to the strategy level has the power to make huge changes in our students' thinking about numbers.  I'm talking about things like using ten frames to visibly build and give automaticity to groups of ten. Even just recognizing how crucial the complete control of ten is to more advanced processes and concepts is a reason to acknowledge the merits of the standards.

I also think the emphasis on understanding the properties of operations is a vital strategy to nurture. At the primary level, the associative and commutative properties used to get passing attention, to be dealt with further at higher grade levels. But if we can build the understanding earlier (and, obviously, we can!), think of the strategies math learners will have at the ready for higher level learning!

Here's a link to a site I came across with a good number of lesson ideas and printables for the math standards. Maybe you'll find something useful for your class. This is the first grade link, but there are K-5 resources across all the math standards.

Lately, I've been working quite a bit on developing materials for Numbers and Operations in Base Ten standards for first grade, particularly adding and subtracting multiples of ten and working with the 120 chart. I hope you got the free penguin game from my last post. The latest resource that I posted at Teachers Pay Teachers has lots more games and activities for addressing the same standards/strategies. See it here.

As further evidence that strategy-based standard-aligned learning can be fun (and even kind of goofy-looking!), here's a freebie for you. It's not a part of the Piggy, Piggy! set above, but actually would fit in quite nicely with it! Your students will roll 2 dice, add the numbers, and then add ten to the sum. Same standards, same theme, same sorta goofy fun! 

It sort of looks like I was thinking about bacon or maybe pork chops when I created this freebie. 
Go figure. ;)

Thanks for stopping by! Happy Teaching!


  1. Thanks for sharing! I have a few students still struggling with the whole concept of ten so I'll try just about anything!
    More Than Math by Mo

    1. Nice to hear from you, Mo. I hope it helps to turn the light bulb on for your strugglers! :)


  2. Replies
    1. My pleasure, Mrs. Leeby! Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment!


  3. My son (a Kinder :) ) and I JUST played this and he LOVED it! Thank for sharing this - so glad I found your blog!

    1. Oh, I looove comments like yours! Thanks so much for sharing your story with me, Stephanie!



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