We are spending a lot of time in the next 2 weeks on subtraction. Subtraction is one of those skills that makes so much sense to us, but is hard for kids to grasp. Amazingly they will appear to understand it after a lesson. Most will even do well on their test at the end of the subtraction unit.
Yet when it comes back around with word problems, data analysis, elapsed time, and division, suddenly they forget everything they have learned. They forget that you can't subtract 5 from 2, and they will tell you that 42-25 =23. They will do this because they will forget all about regrouping. They will even make silly mistakes like forgetting to take a ten when they add ten ones when regrouping.
This is the reason why I spend so much time on subtraction and building it's foundation. Students must thoroughly understand it and it's process. I also spend a lot of time teaching them different ways to subtract. Some ways require them to remember very few steps. Some involve counting and not remembering facts. And other methods eliminate the need to regroup at all. Whatever way they choose to subtract, they will have a thorough understanding of subtraction when we finish this unit. An understanding that will, hopefully, stick with them throughout all of our math units!
School has started and we are getting off to a great start. I am so excited to be teaching almost every third grader math. It is a little overwhelming, but this way I get to know every child. I am so excited!
It is definitely taking some adjustments on all of our parts. Students are having to adjust to having three teachers and learning how each of us expects them to act and perform. We are having to get used to having around 75 students and having them come in and out of our rooms all day. Parents are having to get used to communicating with all of us and knowing what to expect from each teacher.
Every day we adjust. Every day we accomplish a little more. Every day we change classes a little faster. Every day it gets a little bit easier. We are off to a great start!