# Response to Confusion 43-13

So today a friend tagged me in a FB post regarding the “frightening” method that students MUST solve subtraction problems. I have posted the link below, and I believe the link is at the bottom of this post as well! Take a look.

So let’s summarize the tutor’s concerns. 1. That we are writing problems horizontally rather than vertically. 2. That students are using a strategy of “adding up” rather than “stack and subtract”. 3. They MUST use this strategy and no other.

I would like to address each of these and provide some comments.

Fluently add and subtract within 1000 using strategies and algorithms based on place value, properties of operations, and/or the relationship between addition and subtraction. So students have lots and lots of time to process what it means to subtract and its relationship to addition.
Add and subtract within 1000, using concrete models or drawings and strategies based on place value, properties of operations, and/or the relationship between addition and subtraction; relate the strategy to a written method. Understand that in adding or subtracting three-digit numbers, one adds or subtracts hundreds and hundreds, tens and tens, ones and ones; and sometimes it is necessary to compose or decompose tens or hundreds. Notice that students can use any method, with or without drawings or concrete models!!! Super awesome! Hooray for creativity! I no longer have to use one method (that I don’t really get and just memorized because my teacher told me to); I can use any method so long as I keep in mind place value and my rules (properties).
“Our classrooms are filled with students and adults who think of mathematics as rules and procedures to memorize without understanding the numerical relationships that provide the foundation for these rules. The teaching of mathematics has been viewed as a discrete set of rules and procedures to be implemented with speed and accuracy but without necessarily understanding mathematical logic. For the majority of our nation, knowledge of mathematical rules has not allowed them to use math confidently in their daily lives. With almost two-thirds of the nation’s adult population fearful of mathematics, they have simply said “NO” to math and closed the doors to careers that require higher math” (Burns, 1998; Parrish, 2010).
Let’s allow students to make sense of number relationships, what the operations MEAN, and figure out what makes sense and how to approach the mathematics based on the numbers given.

## 4 thoughts on “Response to Confusion 43-13”

1. Sally Haas says:

Love this Jen! You explain it so well. As a result of past teaching, both my sons in their 20’s refuse further learning that requires Math. So sad. They had A’s and B’s in math throughout elementary and middle school years,but failed to understand it. Therefore hit roadblocks in high school. So wish they had common core and teachers like you!

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1. Thanks, Sally. I wish others were able to see what kids can do when given their power to manipulate numbers and reason!

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1. I can believe it. I truly believe in the CCSS standards for mathematics. They are cohesive and allow students creativity in solving problems. However, the implementation of the standards is horrible in most cases. Teachers were expected (in many cases-not all) to put away the programs and curricula one day and start teaching CCSS-M the next, without any professional development not understanding why we had the change.

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