I did want to take a minute and share with you about a math strategy that I absolutely love. Touchmath. I was introduced to Touchmath when I stared teaching first grade, several years ago. I have used it ever since. If you are unfamiliar, there are imaginary points that can go on the numbers 1-9. Those points allow students to simply count to solve their addition and subtraction problems. I even think upper grades can use Touchmath for multiplication and maybe division. Touchmath also has a program for money and for time.
The main reason I love it so much is that it basically gives students "counters" that will not run out, unlike fingers. Students always have access the Touchpoints, unlike number lines and manipulatives. Touchmath makes three digit addition a snap. Plus my students' accuracy rates in addition and subtraction are strong.
If you use Touchmath (or are interested in trying it out), laying the groundwork is very important. My student spend a few weeks memorizing where the points should go before they ever start using Touchpoints for computation. I usually begin this process the first week or two of school when we are doing review work with number recognition and representations.
During the beginning days of memoriztion, my students look at posters and count the Touchpoints. We do some movement activities to help remember where the points go. Students have to draw the Touchpoints during written assignments. There are also fun hands on activities for memorization, check Pinterest for some ideas. Pictured below is a hands on activity I created to help my students learn where all the points go on the numbers.
As you can see, the center pieces are Pete the Cat inspired and who doesn't love Pete? The points are his groovy buttons. Mine are printable, but if you had enough larger and smaller buttons, real ones would work great.
You can have a FREE copy of this activity by clicking on the picture below.
Touchmath is not the only strategy I use in class. I also use manipulatives, numbers lines, ten frames, part/part/whole charts, and more. Touchmath has been a great method for my students to learn. If you haven't tried it, you really should check it out.
Contact me if you have any questions.