Teaching Addition


Mathematics Discussion - Teaching Addition

Posted by: JessicaN Jan 20 2006, 08:51 AM

I'm having a very hard time supplementing Justin's math. The teachers have taught him to add the tens column before adding the ones.

+ 11
+ 6

Which is starting to look more like long division more than addition. I've already started subtraction with borrowing with Justin too, I just don't know what's going to happen to him when they introduce some weird way to subtract. Shouldn't they tell us this BEFORE school starts?? I'm quite certain half of the parents in school started some simple math before school got around to it. (carrying the ones) Now Justin is just confused. He finds the carrying easier, so that's the way we did homework last night. I think it may be a boy thing, and too much writing, he can never cram all those numbers into the itty bitty spaces they have on worksheets so it's illegible anyway.

I was just wondering if anyone else has run into this problem with their math books or what, the only thing I can do it tell Justin to disobey his teachers and do it the way that works for him. I don't really like telling him to disobey his teachers, but as long as he's getting the right answers, what difference does it make?

Posted by: hs4hmom Jan 20 2006, 09:01 AM

I've heard of this. I can see where it might be easier for some kids--not on paper but in their heads it makes better sense. But still, if basic math facts are truly known I can't see this being any better help.

When my dd was in 2nd grade the math they were using (Saxon) wanted them to add these types of columns as dimes and pennies. It was very confusing. For some reason adding numbers was fine but put a dollar sign in front of it (or calling it money) would throw the kids off. I taught her tens and ones at home. Fortunately, the teacher said: whatever works.

Talk to the teacher and see if it's a problem. I can't see why it would be. Again, whatever works.

Posted by: CelticMuse Jan 20 2006, 09:03 AM

some teacher's get angry when a child does it their way. I've so been there with my older kids.

I've yet to see a book that teaches tens before ones. It just doesn't make sense. how will one carry over if you add the tens first?

Posted by: mtbriere Jan 20 2006, 09:21 AM

I could not imagine teaching a child to add 10's before 1's. But I'm assuming this is to make mental math easier. dunno.gif

I think I would call and talk to the teacher. Maybe he/she could explain the lesson to you so you could help Justin. dunno.gif And then you won't have an issue with obedience to the teacher. Explain to the teacher that he just isn't getting it & could you teach him the traditional way. dunno.gif

Posted by: Again Jan 20 2006, 09:23 AM

That's not new math.....that's confused math! So weird! omg2.gif

Posted by: JessicaN Jan 20 2006, 09:28 AM

QUOTE(CelticMuse @ Jan 20 2006, 09:03 AM)
It just doesn't make sense. how will one carry over if you add the tens first?

That's my problem, had printed out some generated math worksheets one night, and we ran into that we got through the adding the columns, but when we added THOSE sums, we were left with an odd number out, where it should have been carried, but you're adding left to right???? the only thing I can figure is that first you add left to right, and then you add right to left, or you add the columns all over again????? to me it seems like a huge waste of effort and paper.

I was going to sit down to day and write a letter to the teachers, asking what we're supposed to do??? I just called a good friend of mine whose son is in the same grade, but different district. She's also a college math professor.... she said that their school had "math night" where the parents were all invited in to 'learn' the 'new' math. She said if I had trouble with addition, wait till we get to multiplication. That even she (math professor) couldn't understand it. I told her at least they TOLD you what to expect..

I think this is twice as frustrating for me, because I know we'd be avoiding all of the confusion if DH would just let me homeschool...
user posted image

Posted by: chocolatechic Jan 20 2006, 09:37 AM

QUOTE(JessicaN @ Jan 20 2006, 08:51 AM)
I'm having a very hard time supplementing Justin's math.  The teachers have taught him to add the tens column before adding the ones.

omg2.gif I have heard of this, but I have never found a way that it makes sense....

Posted by: 2Bgracious Jan 20 2006, 09:57 AM

That's not even "fuzzy math"...that's just wrong.

Yes, let's cause more students to fail. I almost think there's an agenda to keep the majority out of the running. Okay, going to go bang my head over the stupidity. Math is based on natural laws, natural laws don't change, argh!

Posted by: Nana Jan 20 2006, 09:59 AM

That is how they do it for mental math and it gets harder as far as I am concerned; because later they will add hundreds before tens and then the ones..

Teach him a way HE understands it is my thought.. but DEFINITELY talk to the teacher.... maybe set up a meeting and take the books you plan on using if you have them with you and lots of paper so you can see what it is she/he is teaching and be able to help....

ALL Parents with children in ps should know what their child is learning and how it is taught. ... (My thoughts any way)

I hope it all gets straightened out for you and especially him.


Posted by: gsmp Jan 20 2006, 10:20 AM

I have all my kids doing their math work on graph paper. It is so much easier...I realized now...you won't be able to do that.....I'm sure his teacher would have a fit!!!

That doesn't make any sense............... dunno.gif

Posted by: tabv Jan 20 2006, 10:41 AM

There's a man on our church homeschool list, and he also is an advocate of what he calls adding significant digits first, the big numbers... the tens, hundreds, etc, which he says makes more sense to do it that way, but it's harder to teach and that's why so many balk at it. I still will always and forever add from right to left...

I'm kind of doing both, the easier way to teach but for estimating answers, showing the kids that the ones don't matter in estimating... if that makes sense...

So hopefully they're getting the benefit of both without confusing too much.

I agree, I don't like how little they explain things in schools, and expect parents to help out (or don't, who knows).

Good luck!


Posted by: Melanie Jan 20 2006, 01:36 PM

My son and I practiced it that way, but only orally. I'd ask him to double 4908, for example, and the process would go like this:

Double 4000 (8000) + double 900 (1800) = 9800 + double 8 (16) = 9816.

This is also how he learned to double check the bill at diners and such.

For "regular" work book math (like Saxon) I showed him how to do it on paper with carrying, then went over to the Math-It method, which is just making a line through numbers adding up to 10 or more, then adding the number of slashes to the next column.

I think it's great to show kids different ways to do things, but I know their teachers don't always feel the same way. dunno.gif

Posted by: three2camp Jan 20 2006, 02:23 PM

My son had Everyday Math in public school and that was just crazy. His third grade teacher did, however, try to use real math, but she did it that way. Addition/subtraction is bad enough, but we spent a P-T Conference with her trying to teach me how to do it with multiplication. She actually managed to show me how to do it and how it could make sense for younger ones, it kind of tied into estimating and stuff too.

Everybody does math differently, including my son now. We're using Math-U-See to get back to basics, after three+ years in PS, he was totally messed up on math. I hope this helps him find his way.

Posted by: Donna Jan 20 2006, 02:37 PM

Math ought to be taught in the way the causes the child to understand what it signifies. That path to understanding is different for different people. Must be why PS changes how they do things, one way never fits all but no matter how many times the way is changed, it still will not fit because it is still a one way.

Posted by: Melanie Jan 20 2006, 03:47 PM

QUOTE(Donna @ Jan 20 2006, 02:37 PM)
Math ought to be taught in the way the causes the child to understand what it signifies. That path to understanding is different for different people. Must be why PS changes how they do things, one way never fits all but no matter how many times the way is changed, it still will not fit because it is still a one way.

yes.gif I love being able to experiment with different methods so we can find the perfect match for each of the kids.

Posted by: alisonamsb Jan 20 2006, 03:53 PM

I've heard it done this way before and for mental math in lower numbers (up to 100) or in rounded numbers, it works well. Let's you figure the problem out fast. But for daily math exercises like worksheets, which they make you write all the work out anyway, it is just silly. However, I wouldn't advise letting your son disobey the teacher before first talking with the teacher. Often times, teachers don't care if a child gets the right answer. It's the process they are looking at and if the child can't show the process then he doesn't "know" it. My guess is that the teacher will simply say something to the effect of "well, that's the way we are teaching it now and he is just going to have to learn it this way. Besides, it will be good for him to learn various ways - it will help him understand better." Still, I'd have the talk anyway. I have to imagine that the other parents aren't thrilled with the idea of the "new" math. Or whatever they might be calling it...


Posted by: JessicaN Jan 20 2006, 04:03 PM

Today we got home a sheet about how they're going to start multiplication and division..... [but] We haven't figured out how to add yet.user posted image

I know the rational thing to do is not let Justin see how upset I am, and to continue to practice with him at home in whatever manner HE'S comfortable. Then on Monday I'm going to send a note to school and request a conference with his teachers so that they can maybe explain all of this to me. But I have to be honest with you ladies... inside? I feel like this.....user posted image I really really want to cry. I couls see if this was ONE way they taught the kids, but it's the ONLY way they teach him.

Does anyone else have a program in their state "No Child Left Behind" I'm afraid they're just cramming this (&$#@&*^*( down their throats and are going to push him into 3rd grade without understanding it. Now what happens to the children whose parents are too ignorant, afraid, what-not to get involved. Because frankly I'm overwhelmed. What happens to some child who's parents just say "well I don't understand, so I'll leave it all to the school system, they must know what they're doing...."

I really want to cry....

Posted by: JessicaN Jan 20 2006, 04:11 PM

QUOTE(alisonamsb @ Jan 20 2006, 03:53 PM)
However, I wouldn't advise letting your son disobey the teacher before first talking with the teacher. Often times, teachers don't care if a child gets the right answer. It's the process they are looking at and if the child can't show the process then he doesn't "know" it.

You're right, I shouldn't be encouraging him to do it a different way on his homework, and up until last night, we were completing homework "their" way. But when last night rolled around, and he sat there for 10 minutes looking at 6 problems, I finally just asked him, "is it easier to add the way I showed you?" he said yes, and I told him to go ahead and do it the way he felt comfortable. After months of "their" way, and he still looked at it confused, and knowing that when we go over sheets that I print off, he gets them done in a timely manner and always at 80% or better. I felt bad for him. So basically I was just trying to teach him in the way that *I* knew how to add, and figured that they would eventually teach it the 'old' way too. I can see where it's useful in mental math, or estimating, but this is the only thing they are giving him for addition in general.

Posted by: MomofBunbun Jan 20 2006, 04:17 PM

I have a stepson who is older (20) but when he was is high school. I couldn't help him with his math because the teacher told him that he couldn't do it "that way" (meaning my way) even if he got the same answer. I couldn't for the life of me figure out what they wanted him to do so I couldn't help him. dunno.gif

Posted by: three2camp Jan 20 2006, 05:59 PM

QUOTE(JessicaN @ Jan 20 2006, 04:03 PM)

Does anyone else have a program in their state "No Child Left Behind"

Yup, but it's just another slogan. Schools have lots of kids in each classroom so it doesn't matter if YOUR Johnny isn't scoring well, it's time to move on. The backwards math program that was adopted by our previous school district ended up embarrassing them big-time on the state assessments. They then instituted math-minutes where they drilled the basics, then tried to keep up with the weird math while also driving them to do multiplication. At his old school they were even dividing children into different groups and the kids would go to other 3rd grade rooms for math depending on how they were doing (Accelerated, assisted, regular, whatever).

My dh wonders about the math program I've chosen since we're still doing basic times tables and he's supposed to be doing more advanced math. But we moved last summer and the two different math programs combined with all the word problems had him so messed up that I felt we had no choice.

PS now makes kids in 3rd grade not only do the math, but they have to write out the steps they used to solve it. My son has terrible problems with handwriting, can you imagine having to basically write a story about how you decided John and Jane made 75-cents from their bake sale?

Posted by: Sammi Jan 21 2006, 01:30 PM


A friend of mine had this same problem. Her daughter, who is in ps, who she after schools, was already taught how to add and subtract at home, but now they are teaching it at school...and teaching this funny way. So the child is confused. badday.gif

She called and chatted w/ the teacher, who told her to stop working w/ her at home and only do it how they do it.

Get this....she did it the normal way on a test, so the teacher marked it wrong! bomb.gif

Posted by: allbyfaith Mar 7 2006, 09:49 PM

My thoughts( and they do not always count for much biggrin.gif ) Ask his teacher to show you their way to work the problems then work with him at home and help him understand the "real" way to do it. Add to your lesson, with him, what the school is teaching and ask if he sees both ways. If the one way is just not making sense, request that he be taught the way you are teaching at home. Because honestly you are the parent and have the final say. Within another year or two, the school will have a "new" way to teach once again. I was at the receiving end of change throughout my school years and it caused great confusion for me. Also my children struggled because of all the changing in just 5 years of elementary school. As a HS mom now I have spent 2 years trying to undo the damage done by the PS. I hope it works out for you.

Posted by: Sherinova Mar 7 2006, 11:52 PM

I'm was thinking that it might be easier to explain this with paper money.

$24 (2 tens and 4 ones) + $12 (1 tens and 2 ones) = $36 (3 tens and 6 ones)

Posted by: JessicaN Mar 8 2006, 08:26 AM

Luckily, he has picked up both methods.

He can do the school's method fairly well, well enough that it's not a concern to school rolleyes.gif

And he can do it the 'real' way for me consistently. I just gave him a sheet of 30 ##+##=? questions (double digit +double digit, w/ & w/o carrying) he got 100% for me. So he actually has a better grasp on 'real' addition that the school's method which makes me happy, lol.

I had another thread about the note we sent in, and the response


editor note: The thread mentioned above is as follows ...

=====Portion of related topic begins=====

"Partial Sums Method"

Posted by: JessicaN Feb 3 2006, 12:03 AM

Our note:
We were the ones who told Justin to finish his homework by carrying the ones.

He gets extremely frustrated with the partial sums method.

We would like to know why he can not complete his math work in the method that works for him?

Kevin and Jessica N

Teacher response:

Thanks for the note. This is a common question. As the children progress through upper grades they will be taught to carry the tens as you have shown Justin. At this point, especially when the directions state "partial sums" we need the children to add using that method. Here's why:
The Everyday Math program and New York State want the children to be able to use words to explain how they got their answer. By using the partial sums algorithm there are age-appropriate steps which can easily put into words - either verbally or in writing. For example

First I added the tens and got 20.
Next I added the ones and got 7.
Finally I added all the tens and ones together and got the answer 27.

+ 13
+ 7

Second graders have difficulty putting "carrying" into words because although they understand the procedure, the don't understand the why behind it.

Justin did some partial sums problems for me today + was able to do them without difficulty. He's also been able to do them correctly on his Math Boxes for about the last 2 weeks. I was curious why he had difficulty on his homework, so I asked him. It turns out he was frustrated with the addition (at least that's what he explained today). that may explain why you saw something at home that I haven't been seeing in school.

I hope this answers your question. I really appreciate the support you give him with his homework. It's great that he has such a caring family.

OK, so I'm glad he has a caring teacher who wrote me a nice, long note, but that shot my plan in the foot, lol. I was hoping they were going to come back with a "just because" answer and I could add that to my list of reasons to HS whistling.gif

Anyway.... Kevin told me that he thinks the NYS board of regents is a little messed up in more than one way too. Still a mark in my favor... yes.gif

And if this is their way of thinking, wouldn't it still be wise to teach them to add from right to left?


so that when they go back to teaching them to carry the ones, it's natural for them to start with the ones?

And if Justin were simply frustrated with math in general, how come when we switched to the carrying method he finished his work in 3 minutes when he had been struggling with the partial sums method for 15????

I'm curious what you all would take away from that explanation?

Posted by: quiltinmommy Feb 3 2006, 12:10 AM

I thought the note was very nice...but I still think it's silly to begin teaching something and then to expect it to be changed later. My personal feeling on it is they are prepping these kids to take standardized tests..... why else would they need to be able to put in words what they have done as she illustrated.

Posted by: Tressa Feb 3 2006, 12:27 AM

For me she said it all right here.."The Everyday Math program and New York State want the children to be able to use words to explain how they go their answer." I just don't understand why kids need to be able to explain the answers from their math in writing. dunno.gif I am of the mindset that if they get the problem right, they understand it.

I think her note is very nice. She really took the time to respond to you. I agree with Barbra-Sue, though. They are prepping the kids for the test. I think it is confusing because they are going to have to teach the kids a different way in a couple of years. That is just heartache in my opinion.

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