Saturday, October 26, 2013

Our Morning Math Routine

Last year we had a math specialist at our school. My class went to her once a week to focus on math strategies. We were talking one day and she said something that still stays with me. Kids in third and fourth grade were struggling with their math...but the struggles came down to a lack of addition and subtraction.


Since then, I've wanted to look for ways to develop strong understanding of addition and subtracting and relationships between numbers. I've been interested in number of the day practices. And Matt Gomez's idea of starting with the answer kept sticking with me.

So...we now have a regular math routine that we use to start every day. Sometimes we spend 5 minutes. Sometimes up to 10 minutes. Here's what we do at the core.


We look at the date. We figure out how many different ways we can make that number.

While we may occasionally use tally marks and ten frames to show the number, mostly we create addition and subtraction equations that equal that number.

This is great for all levels of learners. My struggling students can create the numbers by adding or subtracting 1 or 0. My more advanced students look for more complicated ways to create the number.


I've seen the thoughts and creations become more and more elaborate. Sometimes one child start an equation and get stuck...then we work together to get to the number.

We'll add skip counting or other math practices with our number from time to time.


Our math routine helps kids push their boundaries. Some students would always give me "___ – 1" as their answers. Now they will try other equations. Kids are thinking about different ways to add or subtract. 


I can't wait to see where the routine takes us in the next couple of months.

2 comments:

  1. I have always loved the simplicity of this concept, and how powerful it can be. I haven't done it for a while, and we use to say "If the answer is 24, what is the question?" I also like how going up one day at a time allows for some math brains to see relationships from previous numbers.

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  2. I love this. And I enjoy your blog, by the way. The vulnerability and honesty of your journey is inspiring. I wish you the best in your process of becoming a public school teacher. The kids are lucky to have you.

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