Tag Archives: mastery

Mastering the Basic Math Facts – Addition and Subtraction

Basic Math Facts


  • To learn about strategies, activities, and interventions to help move students beyond memorization of math facts to mastery.
  • To deepen our own understanding and enhance our professional toolkit in meeting the needs of our students whether it is to close the achievement gap or extend their conceptual understanding.
  • To work as a vertically aligned professional learning community (PLC) to create a more student-centered math classroom where students may select their own tools to investigate math concepts.<p>



  • We will answer  two questions and then comment on at least 2 of the posts made by members of our PLC.
  • In responding to posts, we will clearly state which aspect of our peer’s comments resonated with us and then add additional insights/examples either from the text or classroom experiences.
  • If there are concepts that are unclear or examples discussed that we would like additional information about, questions may asked of members of the PLC.
  • We will endeavor to post in a timely manner so we may maximize our learning time and capitalize on the expertise of members of our PLC.
  • We will earn 16 professional development credits for the book study.

Introduction & Chapter 1

Answer two of the following questions and then respond to two posts made by members of our PLC.

W1-Q1) Why is mastery of math facts important? What problems have you observed when student do not know basic math facts?

W1-Q2) What have you observed about anxiety related to memorizing math facts? Are there types of math facts practice activities that increase anxiety or decrease anxiety?

W1-Q3) How would you introduce the concept of math facts to your class and justify the need to know them?

W1-Q4) How might attention to the sequence in which facts are introduced support mastery of the facts.

W1-Q5) What real-world experiences might create an effective context for addition or subtraction problems?


Week 2

Chapter 2: Plus One and Plus Two

After reading pages 31-50, answer two of the following questions and then respond to two posts made by members of our PLC.

W2-Q1) Reflect on the importance of students’ understanding of the commutative property. In what ways will it support their success?

W2-Q2) Reflect on the inverse relationship between addition and subtraction. How will this early understanding support students’ success as they continue their mathematical journey?

W2-Q3) “Subtraction is a separation or comparison process” (p.33). How could we utilize the model drawings provided by our district to help students grasp this concept?

W2-Q4) After reading pages 41- 50, select an activity/game that you could adopt or adapt to help students build automaticity. Explain how you would introduce it to the class and monitor students’ progress towards mastery.

W2-Q5) What are two literature books that you could use (or have used) to help students develop an understanding of +1/+2 or -1/-2? Provide the title and summary of the text and justify why they are appropriate choices.

Week 3 

Adding Zero and Classroom Management

After reading pages 51-62, answer two of the following questions and then respond to two posts made by members of our PLC.

W3-Q1) Adding and subtracting zero is an abstract concept and might be confusing for some students. What strategies might you use to help students build their understanding of adding and subtracting zero?

W3-Q2) On page 52, there are four “big ideas” presented that will help with our exploration of adding and subtracting zero. Select one of the big ideas and suggest a hand-on or kinesthetic activity that you could use to help support that idea.

W3-Q3) On our campus we are creating student-centered math classrooms in which students are able to self-select the tools they find most useful in helping them to grasp concepts. What routines and procedures will you need to have in place to help students self-select their tools?

W3-Q4) How will you manage math games in your classroom? How will you keep track of students who are experiencing challenges?