Tag Archives: strategies for subtraction

Teaching Addition and Subtraction in Grades 2 & 3

Happy New Year, Everyone!

2and 3 cover

I am pleased to announce the release of my latest resource,  Sums and Differences – Teaching Addition and Subtraction in Grades 2&3.  This teacher resource is matched to the WNCP curriculum and addresses the operations of addition and subtraction  to 100 for grade 2 and to 100o for grade 3.  Designed to be used by teachers of combined grades – or by anyone who has a range of learners in their classrooms – these lesson sequences focus on the big math ideas of adding and subtracting!  Each lesson asks students to engage with place value in concrete, pictorial and abstract ways, while practicing and developing fluency with the operations.  Word problems, games and written practice are included to ensure students hone their skills and deepen their understanding of addition and subtraction with bigger numbers.

The resource includes all the line masters, game boards, written practice and teaching materials required to support your students in becoming proficient with addition and subtraction in ways that are consistent with the curriculum and which promote number sense.

This 220 page resource is just $40 plus shipping. Click here to order!

PS – The companion resource for grades 1&2 is also available for purchase. Read about it by clicking here.

PPS – My sincere apologies.  I have discovered 2 errors in the book. One comes on page 167, in the game called “Three in a Line – Subtracting hundreds, tens and ones”.  The wheel at the top of the page and the differences below don’t match. 😦  I’ve attached the replacement game here for you.

Three in a line HTO game NEW

Likewise, I’ve had some feedback about the “I have…, Who has…?” game in the early pages of the resource.  I’ve re-created it and uploaded the replacement here.

“I have, who has” game NEW

Thanks for your patience and understanding…



Teaching Addition and Subtraction in Grades 1&2

Sums & DifferencesHello and happy August!

I have been busy writing this summer – putting together a volume devoted to teaching the operations in primary. And so, I am pleased to announce the publication of my latest teacher resource: Sums and Differences: Teaching Addition and Subtraction in Grades 1&2.

This resource includes a series of lesson sequences – open tasks, games, written practice, word problems and assessment support – for teaching the operations in a developmentally appropriate way. Beginning with place value explorations, these lessons increase in complexity while providing support for students across the grades.  The lessons make explicit connections between concrete, pictorial and abstract representations of the math to ensure the operations are truly mastered.

The content in the book covers the grade 1 and 2 curricula and presents them in such a way that teachers of combined grades can use the lessons to work with their classes as a whole.

To order a copy online, click here.

All the best!


New Resource! Mastering the Facts – Subtraction

You know, some people holiday over the summer.  Me, I seem to write teacher resources.  :o)

I am very pleased to announce the release of my newest resource called Mastering the Facts – Subtraction: Lessons for Making Sense of Subtraction for grades 1 to 3. This teacher book includes 17 complete lessons aimed at supporting primary aged students in mastering the subtraction facts to 20. Each strategy-based lesson features:

  • a 3-part direct instruction lesson
  • a task for guided practice
  • games and worksheets for independent practice
  • open-ended story problems
  • targeted fluency building opportunities
  • an assessment task customized to match the facts learned

All the lines masters for games, written practice, flash cards, teacher materials and other instructional support are included in this 185 page resource. Organized by strategy, these lessons are designed to promote mastery of the facts, not just memorization!  Teacher tips for using and organizing manipulatives, for supporting students who struggle and for working in a combined grades setting are also included.

Matched to the WNCP and BC math curricula, this book is designed for classroom teachers of grades 1 to 3 and primary resource teachers. Select lessons are suitable for kindergarten students as well.

Cost for the resource is $40 plus shipping.

If you’re interested in getting your hands on a copy, click here to order online.

Thanks for your ongoing support. I hope the book proves helpful.


PS – Please click below to download select colour line masters drawn from the resource.  All other line masters are included and are to be copied onto black and white, but these ones deserved a little colour…!

rocket ship

Houses for number lines extra large

Missing Part Cards – Laying the Foundation for Subtraction

Hello all!

I had the pleasure of working with K and K/1 teachers in Mission on Monday – a great group of teachers who somehow managed to summon up the energy to attend an after-school workshop with me this week!!  Together we looked at ways to support their young students in subitizing and partitioning.  Sounds complex, doesn’t it?  🙂  Truth is, children in early primary need opportunities to see numbers at a glance without counting (subtizing) and to recognize that we can break up sets and put them back together again and the set size is the same (partitioning). These concepts and skills are critically important for young children to develop – they underpin the ability to add and subtract, to multiply and divide…

Engaging young children in conversations about how they “see” sets of number is a great way to start. Present an arrangement of 5-8 objects in your daily opening activities, and ask children what they see and how they see it.  Talk about the parts and label these smaller sets with numerals to make sense of the digits. Celebrate the fact that, no matter how you slice it, 7 is still 7!

Over time, you might want to make connections to the operations by using the attached “Missing Part Cards”. They include a numeral to indicate the set size, and then dots in familiar arrangements in the form of an equation.  The important part of course is to cover up just one of the sets of dots before showing the missing part cards to the children!  🙂 A 6.5 cm x 6.5 cm square of thick paper (bond paper or construction paper – or even sticky notes doubled up) taped across the top creates a flap that will hide one of the parts from view, as indicated below.

Show the card and read it aloud with the children:

“Seven is the same as 4 and…?”

It’s a good idea to say “is the same as” and “and” for “equals” and “plus” here.  “Equals” and “plus” are the names for the symbols and are less meaningful to learners than “is the same as” and “and” – which are words that describe what the symbols mean…

Have students say what they think is missing, and why they think so.  You’ll be surprised at the strategies students will use to find the missing part!  Older learners will benefit from seeing the equation written with a box to indicate the missing part – that is,

This is a great way to introduce algebraic thinking in a visual way!!

Feel free to download the Missing Part Cards for 5, Missing Part Cards for 6 and Missing Part Cards for 7 here.  They are best printed in colour of course, and will hold up best if printed on card stock or bond paper. Credit for the idea goes to John Van de Walle, who first showed them to me years ago.  A smart man, our John – and one I miss terribly.



PS – If you’re looking for more ideas like this for K and grade 1, consider purchasing a copy of my book: Number Sense – A Combined Grades Resource for K, K/1 and Grade 1 Math Classrooms.  It’s set up to support teachers in addressing the number PLOs in mindful ways while keeping their Kindergarten and Grade 1 students together. Games, tasks, problems and meaningful practice opportunities are included in English and in French. To order online, click here.