Monday, February 9, 2015

Math Monday - Mastering the Basic Math Facts in Addition and Subtraction

Welcome and thank you for stopping by Math Monday, 
I hope you will consider joining the conversation.

Mastering the Basic Math Facts in Addition and Subtraction - Strategies, Activities & Interventions to Move Students Beyond Memorization by Susan O'Connell and John San Giovanni is my go to resource right now.  This book is written to help students understand math and be successful with math.  I love this sentence in the introduction, "Our goal in today's math classroom has shifted from memorizing fact and procedures to increased understanding of math skills and concepts."

Susan and John write about our students needing three things to master basic math facts; conceptual understanding, strategic thinking, and practice for fluency.  Each chapter focus' on a math fact strategy is filled with ideas to meet the needs of our students.  There are a couple of activities to introduce the strategy and promote thinking for understanding.  Great ideas for mini-lessons.  Next, you will find activities and/or games to promote automaticity which leads to practice for our students.

Susan and John expand what I have seen as traditional math fact strategies and we find it working and helping us in my classroom.  Something that was new to me was to use ten an addend within fact fluency.  Their reasoning is this, "This skill will be critical later as students use +10 facts as a way of simplifying facts that are near 10. (9 + 4 is simplified to 10 + 3).  Their strategy organization is; +1/+2, +0, +10, doubles, making ten then using ten and using doubles."  I love how they show students how to use something they know for new learning.  This also applies to using their addition facts to know their subtraction facts.

There is a CD- Rom filled with valuable resources for the activities and assessments in this resources.  I love how each strategy assessment is short and sweet, 16 or 20 problems to solve.  The assessment piece also includes a written component as a formative assessment to see if students can explain their understandings.  

The authors also have a book for multiplication and division which I think would be a great resource for older grades.  

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  1. Our posts are having a great conversation right now! I opened the can of "ditties and tricks" worms:

  2. Jumping in today! Cant wait to get back in to read yours and Mary Lee's, conferences will delay my reading a day or two. ;-(

  3. Hi, Mandy. Could not find your contact email, so I am putting this here in the comment section! Sorry. Just wanted to let you know that I enjoy your blog and find it inspiring. I have nominated your blog for The Very Inspiring Blogger Award. The link to my blog and the award info is There are no expectations from me that you accept this award (it does entail some legwork!). But mostly I wanted you to know that I appreciate your blog and the content of your posts! Thanks!

  4. Making it back to read and so glad I did! I will be adding this book to my TBR tower! I just commented at A year of Reading, about how my 1st graders are currently investigating how addition is like subtraction and then one student added if 5+5 = 5x2 then how is addition like multiplication! Can you imagine thinking like this when we were first graders? Love listening to my kids think and talk math!