Summer 2017 Book Study-Week3Chp5

Chapter 5:  Implications for Teaching Addition: Purposeful Practice

I’ve created a series of videos on how we can use various math tools to teach the addition strategies.  Here’s the link:

In the comments below, tell us what you do to differentiate the teaching and learning of addition math facts right now?


  1. Kelly Sickle

    I have had different games for the students who struggle. I didn’t have a good grasp on what games each child should be playing, or what I should be doing with a small group for this fluency piece. I spent my time interviewing students while they were playing the fluency games. Now I am seeing that I need to interview less, and small group more. I also really like that there is a scaffold to the facts, and you can place each student in their correct category!!

    1. Ann Elise

      Hi Kelly!
      Yes, I think the key is for the students to explore these strategies with math tools and even within routines like Number Talks (are you familiar with the book by Sherry Parrish?). Christina always says that number sense can’t be taught, it has to be caught. I’d love to hear your thoughts during the year as you shift to having your students explore with the scaffolded facts.
      🙂 Ann Elise

  2. Lisa Mills

    As I have said before, I am aware of all these strategies – my biggest problem is time! How do we make the time for this important foundation skill when the curriculum (and the IEP) keeps rolling on?? I start on working with this but then the teacher wants me to do ________ and it gets away from me. How have any of you been able to carve out time to just focus on this skill separate from the daily work and curriculum?

    As an interventionist, I cannot usually set up stations in the classroom for the kids to participate in. Additionally, I may not see these kiddos every day. Any ideas?

    1. Ann Elise

      Hi Lisa!

      The struggle is real! I know exactly the frustration you feel!

      Our grade 3-5 school has set aside 30 minutes every day for a math intervention block. All our students are either in a small group or in a Tier 1 group with a teacher -this is in addition to the 60 minute core math time every day. We use this WIN (What I Need) time to fill in some foundational skills. This past year we took one of those days to work strictly on math fact practice and another one of those days for word problem types (add and sub only this year). The other 3 days were reserved for the computational intervention focus within the Do the Math kits written by Marilyn Burns published by Scholastic. There was a research article on what activities are the biggest bang for our buck in interventions and working on math fact strategic thinking as well as word problem structure are the two most powerful things we can do. They recommend it for a few minutes every day rather than what we chose to do and dedicate a full day to it, but I found it was necessary because with travel time to small groups we really only have about 22 minutes for the group.

      I always keep in mind that math education is made up of 3 pillars – math fact fluency (how), standards (why), and word problem application (when). The core math instruction by the classroom teacher needs to address all three of these pillars. It can’t just be within the intervention time. Some teachers may think that they don’t have the time to work on these, but my question then is if we don’t fix it, who will? I understand that with all the emphasis on data and assessments these days teachers don’t feel like it is valuable time spent, but I really think it is valuable. The same strategies we use with math facts are then applied to larger numbers and even fractions and decimals down the road. We can’t afford not to.

  3. Kelly Andrews

    First of all, I absolutely LOVE your videos on strategies. I have cuisenaire rods but didn’t feel I used them to their fullest. These videos are super helpful! As for how I differentiate my teaching and practice of the facts, I use games , cards, and dice to practice math facts. The kiddos find them fun and motivating. The problem is the students would often revert back to less efficient strategies if I wasn’t constantly monitoring their game situation. Perhaps, they will be more apt to use the strategies if they truly understand them. A point of weakness for me was teaching these strategies using a variety of tools. Hence these videos will offer the support I am needing, hopefully encouraging a deeper understanding for the students.

    1. Ann Elise

      Hi Kelly!
      Cuisenaire rods are so incredibly powerful. If you look to the left of the screen on my website, you will see a link or Unit 1 Whole Number and Operations and then another link beneath that for multiplication and another for division which have videos of my demonstrating how the Cuisenaire rods can be used to model the area model. Really powerful application down the road even in high school algebra as well. The benefit of them is that students can see the numbers under 10 existing as a whole and not as a collection of ones, so it encourages them to think strategically and not just reinforce counting which so many of our attempts to be helpful with students are. Imagine demonstrating a subtraction problem that needs regrouping. Typically the ones place has that many cubes. We have then had the children take a ten rod from the tens place and exchange it for 10 ones. The poor child then needs to count up all those cubes before taking away some and then counting again to see how many are left. Now, instead, imagine there being a 7 rod in the ones place and rather than trading a ten rod for anything, we just slide it over to join the 7 to become 17. Now I can use my strategies to figure out the difference in the ones column. So much more efficient!

      I’m glad you like the videos. I think I had better get going on the subtraction and multiplication ones!

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