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Q&A #13529


Addition and Subtaction with numbers 1-20

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From: Ralph (for Teacher2Teacher Service)
Date: May 08, 2004 at 22:24:51
Subject: Re: Addition and Subtaction with numbers 1-20

Dear Ilana,

Thanks for writing to T2T.  I guess I'll kind of answer your question 
"backwards", starting with your last point/question.  You asked if your 
"make 10" strategy for thinking about subtraction was "acceptable"--
encouraging your child to think in terms of "friendly numbers" that make 
sense to her is indeed a GREAT idea, and any mental strategies that a child 
can develop to make addition and subtraction facts easier to remember/think 
about are useful.

I have to admit I was a bit surprised by your comment about her having "up 
to 6 pages a day" of homework on this topic--that seems like a TREMENDOUS 
amount of work for a 6 or 7 year old!!

As for your "starting question" about the best way to help her.  I'd 
encourage you NOT to give her any more written work--it sounds like she's 
got WAY too much of that already.  Rather make the practice fun!--there are 
lots of card/dice games that are great for practicing addition/subtraction 
facts in an enjoyable game format.  Games don't have to be elaborate to be 
effective.  For example, simple card games where you/your daughter both have 
the cards from 0-10 (i.e. a standard deck with the face cards removed) you
both turn a card over, and the first one to say the sum gets both cards (or
the first one to say the difference between the greater number and lesser
number on the two cards).  For more "formal" descriptions of card and dice
games that are effective for practicing basic facts, you might want to check
out this website:

http://www.planet.eon.net/~boxcars/home.htm

The "Boxcars and One-Eyed Jacks" books are filled with excellent dice and 
card game activity ideas.

By the way, one last thing--you emphasized having your daughter learn the 
facts "without using her fingers"--just a personal bias, but for a 6- or 7- 
year old, I don't worry too much if they're still "using their fingers" for 
some facts--I just try to get them to "want to" memorize more facts by 
introducing the card and dice activities to promote learning the facts.

Hope this helps,

 -Ralph, for the T2T service


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