Helping Children Master the Basic Facts


During the Power Point, I worked on many different strategies to help me learn to teach basic math skills.

Addition Strategies:  Using COMMUTATIVE PROPERTY such as 5 + 3 = 3 + 5, called Turnaround Facts, can be helpful to help children learn.  Also, counting on is a beginning step for learning addition facts.  Do not discourage children from counting on their fingers as this is a good beginning strategy and they will stop once they are ready.  Counting on and counting on fingers is useful but it is time-consuming.  So, we want to give children other strategies to help them.  Such as:

  • Adding Zero (especially using manipulatives, so they don’t get confused)
  • One More Than
  • Two More Than
  • Adding Doubles
  • Near Doubles
  • Combinations to Ten (using tens frame is helpful for this)
  • Adding to Ten and Beyond

Subtraction Strategies:  Again, there several ways to help children master subtraction besides just counting back, which again is very time-consuming.

  • Think Addition
  • Down over 10
  • Take from the 10 (ex: 17 – 9 …. 10 – 9 = 1 + 7 = 8) This was a great addition to my subtraction repertoire that I will definitely remember.

Multiplication Strategies:  Using books is especially helpful for laying the foundation for learning multiplication.  I loved this idea and will definitely use the books suggested:  Each Orange Had 8 Slices, Anno’s Mysterious Multiplying Jar, What Comes in 2’s, 3’s, & 4’s, and Amanda Bean’s Amazing Dream.  Then once you have read about things that come in groups, have the class make a list of things that come in groups.  Remind them to use usual groups and not crazy things 🙂  Then, make a class book.  I have done this in kindergarten and it didn’t seem that powerful.  But, I can definitely see how having student create a class book in an older grade (2nd) would be wonderful!  Love this!  Other strategies to use:

  • Circles and Stars Game
  • How Long?  How Many? (with the rods)  I have never seen this before and LOVED the game – how much fun to be learning multiplication without even realizing it!
  • Doubles

Division Strategies:  I used multiplication/division skills when I divided the list of fractions.  I didn’t even think about it.

Finally, what about Time Tests????  They will benefit fewer than they will impede from what I heard because of things like:

  • they will improve skills children already know
  • they will not promote reasoned approaches because students don’t have enough time to think through strategies
  • they will produce few long-lasting results
  • they will reward few but punish many
  • they can give some students a strong dislike for math and a faulty idea of learning math

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