Posted on January 25, 2013. Filed under: Common Core, Digital Learners | Tags: , , , , |

Here are some powerpoints and videos on alternative algorithms.


Happy Mathing,

Dr. Nicki

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Best Math Posters Ever!

Posted on May 9, 2012. Filed under: Classroom environment, Common Core, Elementary math, Mathematical Proficiency | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Eureka!  I have found math gold!!!   This is a whole website of fabulous, standards-based, free math posters!  It gives you a jumpstart on hanging up those math posters!  Look around your room.  What is the ratio of math posters to literacy posters presently?  What message does this send to your students?  Does your room environment reflect a balanced commitment to teaching literacy and math?

Math research has always stated that students should know and use a variety of strategies based in place value. Now, the Common Core emphasizes that students should know and use strategies. You want students to be flexible with numbers. You want them to be able to talk about the relationship among numbers.  When they solve problems, ask them what strategy they used.

*They have one poster at the bottom of the page where they divide by zero.  But, we all know that that is undefined so I wouldn’t use that poster!

Happy Mathing,

Dr. Nicki

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Printable Math Strategy and Algorithm Posters: Great to Discuss in Guided Math Groups

Posted on August 27, 2011. Filed under: Assessment, Classroom environment, Common Core, During the Guided Math Lesson, Elementary math, Guided math | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Here are some great posters.  You might hang these up as reference posters in your classroom.  You might also also have them nearby when you are talking about different strategies and algorithms in your small guided math group.  These serve as scaffolds (in the form of cues) so that students can remember what they are learning.

Happy Mathing,

Dr. Nicki

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Great Basic Facts Number and Strategy Club!

Posted on August 3, 2011. Filed under: Assessment, Elementary math, Math Centers | Tags: , , , , , , |

This is a great website based on the Oregon Teachers of Mathematics guided activities.  They have created a series of activities to scaffold learning.  As the students complete the activities, they move through membership levels in the “number club” and then the “strategy club”.  This is just great basic practice and a motivating structure.  The clubs are listed in the left sidebar.  Check out all the information on this site!

This is how they frame it:

“Number Club provides a framework for methodically working through the patterns that make up our base-ten number system. Strategy Club builds on understanding those patterns and using them to solve progressively more challenging addition and subtraction problems. This program is a tool to differentiate instruction within the frame-work of a whole group lesson….and best of all; it’s a hit with children!”

Number and Math Clubs



Be sure to look at the class summaries and the certificates.

Happy Mathing,

Dr. Nicki


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Lucky 8 and Lucky 9: Teaching Compensation for Addition Problems in Small Guided Math Groups

Posted on December 17, 2010. Filed under: During the Guided Math Lesson, Elementary math, Guided math, Manipulatives, virtual manipulatives | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Lucky 8 and Lucky 9 refer to the math strategy of compensation – a strategy that fiddles with the numbers in order to make the problem easier to solve.  Both the Common Core first grade and second grade Operations and Algebraic Domain,  specifically refer to teaching a variety of mental math strategies. 

When practicing Lucky 8 and Lucky 9 students are adjusting these numbers to become 10 so that they can work with them more efficiently. Remember that when we are teaching math we always want to think in the frame of concrete, pictorial and abstract. 

Concrete Activities:

I use the double ten frame to teach this so students can see what is happening.  Look at an example of that here   I do this in small groups and give each child a double ten frame and counters.  They get to manipulate the numbers.  So take the problem, 8 + 7. Students see if we have “lucky 8” that there are two empty squares in the first frame where we built 8.  So they take two from the second frame and move them into the first frame to make a ten and then we add 10 + 5.  We practice this many times so that students get a conceptual understanding of the model.  Then we do the same thing with “lucky 9”.

Pictorial Activities:

At this site they can practice compensation on the Illuminations site under the  Add game   On this great site that talks about fact families, you can see a visual of how this works at

I also do number grid activities to teach this.  See post on number grid

Abstract Activities:

Here are two poems that I made up that I use with the students when teaching this strategy. 

Lucky 8

 Lucky 8

You’re So Great!

When I see you

I know what to do

Go to the other number

And take two!

Lucky 9

You’re So Fine!

Glad to see you everytime

It’s just too much fun

To go to the other number

And take one! has some great poems as well.  They have one called 9 Be My Friend …the first line goes “9 be my friend, let me turn you into a ten…” These are great for talking about the problem and having an abstract mnemonic to remember the strategy. They have another poem called the 9 Rule which also talks about compensation.

 More Resources:

Google this “Math 4 – Act. 01: Mental Math: Addition and Subtraction.”  It is a UEN lesson plan with a great graphic organizer.

 Happy Mathing and Happy Holidays!

Dr. Nicki

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