Q&A #522

Teachers' Lounge Discussion: Teaching subtraction

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From: Owen

To: Teacher2Teacher Public Discussion
Date: 2007032713:02:17
Subject: Re: subtraction with borrowing

from: Jennifer Nobles 

   You said:  "He has trouble mostly with adding and subtracting......
He will have in one day and the next he won't.  When we are doing a
worksheet, one line he will do correctly the
next he won't.  How can I make the information I am teaching him

Dear Jennifer:

     The problem may be that he does not undstand what the number
symbols mean or how place value works.   He should be able to define
each number.  I ask the question  "What is two?" 
then have the child prove what it is.  Do this for each number symbol
one to nine.  If he is not able to do this then it could cause
the problems you describe.

     I have some free charts that can help you explain this to him on
my web site.

The first step:
    is to practice with dice so he can see the shape of the
    pattern that the numbers make.  for example four dots
    can make a square shape- (four corners or four sides).

    assocaite the dice dot pattern with the symbol four by
    putting dots around the four 
    (but NOT on top of the number as this can be very harmful).

     Covert the dots around the four into two symbols "2" and
     link them with a line to show that two "2s" make a four.

You can get the charts at:


    There are also other charts on the site to help explain math in
other areas thatvchildren have trouble with.  I hope 
you find this information helps. Have fun and good luck.


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