Primary age students require consistent repetition of skills for mastery. For this reason, it can feel like groundhog’s day in first grade as we spiral through the same skills daily. The challenge is to engage students in new ways while reviewing the same material day in and out. In this post, we focus on addition and subtraction to 20.
ADDITION AND SUBTRACTION TO 20
In first grade, we take basic computation and introduce multiple strategies for solving. Through the year, we bring emerging mathematicians to mastery through a variety of methods. Computation is an important skill, so we teach students many ways to solve. Allowing students to name and practice different strategies empowers them as critical thinkers and problem solvers.
A CLOSE LOOK AT STRATEGIES
In the examples below, you can see a direct application of strategies. Students have a visual of the strategy to remind them of ways to process through a challenge. Whether kept in a folder, on a strategy focus wall, or in a pencil box, these helpful strategy cards support the learning.
To begin, teach the strategies in isolation. Once students are comfortable naming and using one strategy, introduce the next. Continue this process through the year as you review and expand the understanding of addition and subtraction to 20.
Consistent practice with word problems is an important part of building confident computation skills.
I have shared many times about the importance of the developmental stages of the math continuum. We experience this in the Guided Math curriculum I authored for K-5 students. So how do these skill practice pages fit in with this philosophy of authentic math experiences? Standards-based skill practice falls into the abstract level of development. In short, it’s the ability to perform math using numbers and symbols only. This ability is the most frequently tested to record mastery. Whether or not I believe that is a true measure of mastery could certainly be another blog post entirely, but I do believe it’s important for students to reach this level of understanding.
DAILY SKILLS APPLICATION
I created a resource with 18 strategies cards specifically for addition and subtraction to 20. The resource has 50 skill pages for students to apply addition and subtraction skills through many formats and with multiple strategies. This resource is called Standard Practice. My hope is that it can supplement your Guided Math Block by equipping you with quality practice for students. I would put this out at an independent practice station for students within a guided math rotation. It could also be used as the independent practice portion of a traditional math block. Those who need skill pages for homework can use this resource as well. It’s versatile and there’s no wrong way to have students practicing these skills.
MATH STRATEGIES IN-DEPTH
To see how I continuously use math strategies for every math strand, you can visit THIS POST. I break it down with visuals and examples for you.