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Thursday, February 16, 2012

When you can, make ten!

It's two days before February vacation. Let's be honest, I'm just as excited as the kids. Therefore, attention spans on their end and mine are short. Which means teaching any new concepts is pointless. So today, I decided to go back to basics.

Sadly, my kids are not fluent with their addition facts yet. Sure, they have their multiplication facts memorized but I still catch them counting on their fingers for basic addition facts.

I'm going to let you in on a secret. As a kid, math was never my strong suit. I myself was a finger counter! (GASP) I'd always pull off an A but it was simply by memorizing algorithms. I never truly understood what I was doing or why I was doing it. Today in school there is so much emphasis on writing in math and truly developing a deep understanding of concepts.

I feel it's my duty as a former finger counter to do everything I can to help my students in this area. So today was all about "anchoring to ten". I reviewed all the ways to make ten and focused on mental math for basic addition. If it wasn't unethical to tie their hands behind their back, I would have to ensure no finger counting was allowed!

The kids made their own foldables. 
Inside they had to explain how this would help them. 
Our school was lucky enough to host a visit from Greg Tang this year. He is a math wizard and author of several children's books such as 
He also focused on mental math during his visit and the kids were truly engaged by his presentation. He inspired me and apparently left a lasting impression on the kids...


  1. Great ideas! So cute. I'm a teacher too, but for high school :)

  2. A former finger counter. I love it!