Tried, Test and True – a lost idea found

One of the privileges that I have as an administrator, and is also one of my duties is to supervise the teachers that I work with. The other day I happened to stop by my grade 2/3 split class and was fortunate to observe one of my teachers Mrs. Smith reviewing addition facts when using doubles.

Mrs. Smith was using the Smart Board in her class and was allowing the students to answer questions using the board tools that they were most comfortable using. Some of the students chose to use the tools on the board, some chose to use a piece of paper, and some chose to use manipulative’s. Others used a method I had never seen in my years of teaching and am positive I didn’t see when I was learning addition.

The concept involved connecting the answers to double questions with easy to remember physical actions It was amazing to see. If one of the students struggled to arrive at the answer, all Mrs. Smith had to do was either say the connection or display the movement and the student easily remembered the answer.

Here is the lesson sheet for the Fact Families using Doubles.

1 + 1 = 2 (Goal Post Doubles) – put fingers up like goal posts.

2 + 2 = 4 (Rabbit Ears) – put fingers up like one would in a picture behind ones head.

3 + 3 = 6 (Dentist Smile) – put fingers in front of mouth representing teeth.

4 + 4 = 8 (Octopus Eight) – putting hands together but still allowing for fingers to wiggle, excluding thumbs.

5 + 5 = 10 (Ten Tickly Fingers) – move fingers as if your are trying to tickle someone.

6 + 6 = 12 (Farmers Double) – flap arms like a chicken – eggs come in a dozen

7 + 7 = 14 (Valentines Double) – make a heart shape with your hands and hold it at your chest.

8 + 8 = 16 (Sweet Sixteen) – holding hands beside face, emphasising that 16 is a very special birthday.

9 + 9 = 18 (Adult Doubles) – stand up tall and act like an adult, because at 18 your an adult.

10 + 10 = 20 (Toes and Fingers) – hold hands up and feet out trying to wiggle all of them.

Before leaving the class I asked Mrs. Smith where she had picked up the ideas/technique and she mentioned that it was given to her by Mrs. Peck, another teacher at Seba Beach who has been teaching for well over 30 years. Mrs. Peck in turn pointed out that she inherited the concept from a Mrs. Hunley who has long since retired. I was just amazed and excited, not only because I had never seen or experienced the idea, but because in an age bombarded with technology here was an interactive, differentiated and engaging method that had nothing to do with technology, It is a technique that simply reaffirms that it is not just new ideas/innovations, but also tried and true methods that have been perfected over years of teaching that are effective. We must take the time to find and share them.


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