**I am so happy to host Mrs. BBZ‘s guest post because she does an incredible job of demystifying the strategies. As a child, I had no idea why I “carried the 1” when doing addition . I just did it by rote. These strategies would have helped me to actually understand addition and subtraction with regrouping rather than just following the steps. And that is HUGE!**

When I think of Common Core math,

I’m reminded of a conversation I had with a teammate during planning. Our school

system had just begun the transition to Common Core, using Scott Foresman’s

“Investigations” series as a core curriculum. We were knee deep in base-ten

blocks, number lines and hundreds boards. She said –

and agreed – these “new” ways of solving problems were taking too long, and

kids just didn’t “get” it. More accurately –

**I**didn’t “get” it.

**. A lot of us were even throwing out those number lines and teaching kids the**

*fourth grade*algorithm anyway.

It took a while to convince me, but I now

*strongly*believe we shouldn’t be throwing out the “new” ways of solving problems, just because they’re time-consuming – there are actually some really important

reasons why all these crazy strategies help kids in the long run. I

promise.

We used to teach kids directly. We said, “These are the steps. Follow

them and you will get the right answer.”

Just like we know that some kids

are stronger auditory or visual learners, and most are kinesthetic – kids don’t

all solve math problems the same way. They need a variety of different

strategies that they “get” without having to memorize a series of steps. Check out some of those options (there are SO many more than just the good ‘ole number line).

For a summary of these strategies that you can send home to parents, please download **this freebie **or check out **this presentation**

Of course, we’re living in the digital age. While we practice and practice so that we can use mental math and solve problems flexibly and accurately, it’s much more likely that our students will walk up to the cashier with the memory of their elementary teachers’ words in their heads and …

**About the Author**

Ms. BBZ is currently teaching second grade in Georgia, after teaching a Gifted and Talented immersion class at a Title I magnet school in North Carolina for several years. Her passions are conceptual math, integrated learning, and character education for students. You can find her online at her **blog **as well as her **Teachers Pay Teachers Store.**

Karen Greenberg says

Even when swiping their debit cards, students (who will then be adults) will need to be able to estimate the total in their carts and subtract from their available balance to make sure they have enough money. These skills WILL still be important, even in the digital age!

Q Harris says

Great information! Thanks for sharing!

Ms. BBZ says

Karen – I fully agree. Math skills aren't ever going to be outdated. That's why it's so important to make our instruction as effective as possible.

TheElementary MathManiac says

Great post! We spend way to much time "teaching" the traditional algorithm and making kids practice it over and over. Our time is much better spent looking at a variety of strategies and asking kids to solve these problems without pencil/paper. It is amazing to see all of the strategies kids invent on their own. It is never to late to go back and let your kids try other things!

Tara

The Math Maniac

Rebecca Reid says

Wow! What a great post. Thank you for the ideas in teaching this concept…My son is just about at this point.

Nermine Ayman says

good