Q&A #1618

Teachers' Lounge Discussion: Problems with addition and subtraction

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From: Paul Smith

To: Teacher2Teacher Public Discussion
Date: 2001022820:35:18
Subject: don't forget flashcards!

It may seem like ancient history, but a small, reduced stack of about
10 challenging flash cards (not 2+1, etc.), used on a daily basis for
no more than 4 or 5 minutes, is a great reinforcer.

Kids get overwhelmed with an entire stack and can get frustrated
having to sit ten or more minutes trying to get the answers right so
they can be "released".

Used sparingly and with a dash of humor and laughing, flash cards can
be a fun, interactive way lock in addition, subtraction,
multiplication and division facts. Stay away from extrinsic rewards
(candy, TV, etc.) and try to encourage intrinsic rewards ("You're
getting faster and faster!" or "Wow! I didn't think you'd get that
one." Flash cards can turn into a great way to build up self-esteem
and confidence.

There's been so much research that now there's a lot of creative ways
to teach arithmitic. Much emphasis has been put on providing a
visual/physical understanding of how these operations work. These are
very important and will be critical as a child tackles more complex
levels of Math, but I believe that the ability to immediately shoot
out an answer to "What is 9 minus 4?" relies primarily on memory
recall, and the best way to commit such a recall is with visual

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