Counting to Ten for Success


Math can be challenging for all students.

It can be challenging for the teachers.

When Math gets frustrating,
put aside the worksheet for a minute and take out
something you can see, hear or handle.

A simple change in presentation can birth understanding.

*marker board
*chalk (even outside on sidewalk)
*math game
*chant or rap
*dice (shake, then +,-, or x)


We were adding groups of three and four digit numbers.



To a child, a problem like this goes
and on
and on
and on
and on….

If you make a mistake in one column of numbers, the answer is wrong.

It’s hard for a kid to understand that
one small mistake makes the whole problem wrong.

We help kids eliminate mistakes
by giving them problem solving strategy.

I have a cool trick for adding lotsa’ big numbers.


I look for groups of 10’s.

grouping tens 001

I even mark on the page with little swoops.

Next, I add the biggest number to the 10,
then I count the other little numbers on my fingers.

True confession, sometimes I count on my fingers.

My dear daughter, Beka, struggled in learning her addition facts.
Of course, with our curriculum, they were learning
addition and multiplication facts in the second grade.


She did fine with multiplication, but still struggled with addition.
I was worried, until I was correcting her math without the key.

I caught myself occasionally counting on my fingers.


Sometimes teaching is as beneficial for the teachers as it is for the students, right?


Prairie School pics 105

Manipulatives make all things better,



Prairie School pics 103

so we pulled out our numbers, a magnet board and hit the deck.

Literally, hit the deck. 
The sun was shining,
the grass was brown,


Prairie School pics 127

and we needed a little vitamin D to go along with our numbers.


Once they’ve mastered the tens, the next strategy is easy.

*Find Groups of Twenties
(simply take groups of tens,
but add a 1 in the tens place for one number)

7 + 3 = 10
17 + 3 = 20
7 + 13 = 20




Other tricks for adding numbers quickly:


Doubles-Plus-One Math Game



**Mental Math Video


*Super Cool Mental Math Tricks


You never outgrow those brightly colored magnets
or writing on a marker board.
When I tutored Algebra for a few years,
the high-schoolers LOVED my IKEA marker/chalkboard.


Success in math can be as easy as
counting to ten.


Just don’t count on your fingers.




2 thoughts on “Counting to Ten for Success

  1. I noticed that with several of my kids that they mastered the multilication facts faster than the addition and subtraction facts.

  2. Beautiful post! I totally agree… Multiplication facts came way easier than addition… Which is why we have one math book on multiplication (so we don’t get too far behind) and our core curriculum is the “spiral method” so she’s reviewing addition and subtraction every day. We also loved the games that came with “Right Start Mathematics”. We no longer use the workbooks from that program, but we still use the games. Simple “war” with number cards (you can do addition, subtraction, or multiplication) is so much fun! Any way to make the anxiety level go down so they actually remember what they learn…

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