Category Archives: Math

Math Update!

We continued to work on subtraction strategies, this week. The first graders performed very well with the strategy of:

  1. Circling the numbers in the story
  2. Listening to see if the story is subtraction or addition
  3. Writing the secret code that matches the story (T-P=P or P+P=T)
  4. Adding the number to the equation
  5. Drawing the math mountain
  6. Putting the total at the top
  7. Clapping and counting ON or UP to solve for the missing number

 We are in the habit of checking to see if the number we solved for makes sense in the math mountain (the largest number always has to go at the top). If they make a mistake, the math mountain helps them to realize this.

Math Update!

We kicked off Unit 3 this past week and introduced our first graders to a new strategy: math mountains.  A math mountain is a method for organizing the partners on bottom and the total on top.  If we aren’t sure of the total in a math mountain we can underline the greater partner and count ON.  If a partner is missing, we can underline the known partner and count UP to the total (drawing a circle for each number that we count).  The number of circles tells us the missing partner.

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Our first graders solved stories that were missing a partner instead of the total this week too.  This was our first time exploring ways to solve this kind of problem.  We found that our math mountain strategy helped us organize the numbers so we could count-UP from the known partner to the total in order find the missing partner.  So, we worked hard to recognize the total and partner in each story so our math mountains made sense and our work was accurate.

Math Update!

This week, we reviewed all the concepts that we covered in Unit 2. Unit 2 covered addition and subtraction strategies and provided the foundation for all of the math learning that will take place for the rest of this year and beyond. Look for the math assessment to come home soon and check over how your child performed. Any areas that are still NOT consistently solid, we will continue to practice in our lesson warm ups and small group intervention.  This week’s homework will be a review of writing addition equations (P + P = T) and subtraction equations (T – P = P).

Math Update!

This week, we focused on subtraction equations and stories.  We continued to emphasize that a subtraction equation always begins with the total and worked hard to label all our equations so we knew which numbers to put where.

We also learned that we can use addition to help us solve subtraction.  If we know the partners for an addition equation, we can use this understanding to help us find the missing partner in a subtraction equation.

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Math Update!

We spent time studying a new math concept: SUBTRACTION!!!  When we solve stories that involve “taking something away” we use a minus sign (-) to represent what happened.  For example, when given the story:

There were 5 cookies.  I ate 3.  How many are left?

Our first graders learned to represent this thinking with circle drawing, break-apart stick, and minus sign right through the circles that were taken away:

We also emphasized that a subtraction equation always begins with the total.  Then we show the “minus” partner, which means that our answer is actually a missing partner (rather than a missing total like an addition equation).  Our first graders “trained their brains” to count up the total and write that number first to accurately represent a subtraction story or circle drawing with an equation.

With our introduction to subtraction still very fresh and new, please support your child on their homework pages as they learn to understand the strategies involved with solving and representing subtraction stories!!!!

Math Update!

Our first grade mathematicians have learned to solve addition stories by drawing pictures, using circle drawings, and writing equations.

This week each of our math groups brainstormed solution strategies for solving equations with missing totals.  To solve 5 + 2 = ___, our first graders suggested…

…making a circle drawing underneath the partners:  

…counting the partners on all their fingers: 

A third strategy that we learned was: COUNTING ON!!!!  Counting on is more accurate and time saving than the first two methods.  When we count on, we underline the greater number and draw dots under the smaller number to show our math work.  Then, we clap and say the greater number, and count on by pointing to and counting the circles under the smaller number.

Picture 3

  We learned how to use our red quilt cards to increase our fact fluency.

Picture 1

Math Update!

This week we began our second math unit.  Unit 2 will cover addition and subtraction strategies and provides the foundation for all of the math learning that will take place for the rest of this year and beyond.

This week we learned how to draw pictures to solve story problems. This strategy worked well, except it took us a R-E-A-L-L-Y long time to draw pictures of some objects, such as castles, pencils, and rockets.

Later in the week, we tried a new strategy: circle drawings. We used a break apart stick and circles to show the partners in a story. Then we counted up the total in a snap!


We also learned about the math symbols, equal (=) and not equal (≠).  Numbers are equal (=) when they are exactly the same. This understanding of equality is an important math concept that students will apply when writing equations throughout this year.

Math Update!

During our math time this week we reviewed breaking apart larger numbers into smaller partners.  We also focused on using our knowledge of partners and patterns to practice addition (+0, +1, +2) and subtraction (-0, -1, -2) facts. This week in particular, we practiced adding and subtracting doubles partners (1+1, 2-1, 2+2, 4-2, 3+3, 6-3, etc.), and discovered that a number minus itself equals 0 (8-8 = 0). After reviewing these concepts, we took our Unit 1 math assessment. The kids performed very well.

After taking math assessments (quizzes or tests), your child will receive their assessment with a summary of the skills assessed and their score out of the total points available for each skill. Anyone that is not consistently showing mastery of a skill area, will get some form of intervention at school to strengthen that area. If you have any questions about any of the assessments that come home, please let me know.

Math Update!

During our math time this week we continued to break apart larger numbers into smaller partners. We used whiteboards and markers, counters, stair steppers, and activities from our math workbook to visualize the partners, switch partners, and doubles partners for the numbers 8, 9, and 10. Challenging your first grader to write and show each set of partners in a variety of ways has helped to increase number sense and flexibility with these numbers.

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We also continued to use our knowledge of partners and patterns to practice addition (+0, +1, +2) and subtraction (-0, -1, -2) facts. This week in particular, we practiced adding and subtracting doubles partners (1+1, 2-1, 2+2, 4-2, 3+3, 6-3, etc.), and discovered that a number minus itself equals 0 (8-8 = 0).

Finally, thank you for helping your child complete the math homework that came home on Monday. We will continue to send home packets of work on Mondays and will give you a whole week to have your child complete them and return them to school the following Monday.