PS/IS 686 | Brooklyn, NY

Grade 2: Addition and Subtraction Strategies

Hello Families,

We hope you had a wonderful, relaxing Thanksgiving holiday. The month between Thanksgiving and our first winter break is always busy and meaningful. Our second graders will be engaged in projects across all areas of the curriculum, and will be filled with stories and questions to talk about at home.

This week, we want to respond to some conversations we had during Parent Teacher Conferences about the strategies we are developing for addition and subtraction. We know that the way kids do math today looks different than the way we learned growing up, and that parents need support in order to align math work at home with what we are doing in school. The standard for second grade is that students develop a repertoire of strategies for addition and subtraction that are “based on place value”. The standard algorithm is only one strategy! Our goal is for students to develop what we call a “toolkit” or a “toolbox” of strategies. We are attaching some documents below to help you understand the types of strategies we use in the classroom and how students might represent these strategies on paper. We encourage students to choose strategies based on the numbers in the problem: For example, we do not need an algorithm to solve 300-299! An algorithm makes this problem quite messy! Instead, we can “count up” from 299 to 300, in order to understand that the difference is 1.

Please print these STRATEGY SHEETS and use them as a reference:

AdditionStrategies2017 (1)

SubtractionStrategies2017 (1)

Here are the charts kids can access in the classroom:

IMG_5625     IMG_5626

You also may be interested in reading this blog post from an educator in Utah as food for thought.

Strategies for Addition and Subtraction

Our second graders are each on their own developmental path. Your child may be starting to try out one or more of these strategies, or your child may be fluent in each. In class, we meet the children where they are and target instruction to meet their needs.

Our writers are diving deep into their research. We have formed the questions that will provide the structure of our books. We have discovered that since nonfiction books are written to teach, it is important for us as writers to provide the reader with thoughtful answers that are full of information; not just ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers. If your child has not brought in any research please send it with them. Pictures of their topics will also be helpful in the creation of their books.

Important December Dates:

  • November 29- 202 Trip to The Wyckoff House
  • December 1- 201 Trip to The Wyckoff House
  • December 1- Family Friday ****Please note that 201 will NOT be participating in Family Friday due to our trip. Students in 202 will be sharing a piece of work they are proud of, showing you around our classroom, and playing math games.
  • December (date tbd)- November/December Birthday Celebration
  • December 15- Timeline Project Due
  • December 22- Holiday Celebration

Have a wonderful week,

Ms. Mathis and Ms. Anne