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Struggling learners may never have understood the relationship between mathematical symbols and reality but until they can do a calculation with objects they are not ready to do so mentally. They need to ‘see’ the maths they are doing.
Start with physical objects like beads to count or add and subtract. Finger patterns really help with number bonds and simple calculation (and they’ve always got them with them!).
Use as many visual reminders as possible - number tracks, number lines, hundred squares, bead strings, coins and dice. Ring the changes by using a coat hanger with pegs grouped in 5s, in alternating colours e.g. 5 red, 5 white.
But the goal is mental calculation, so as learners progress, use empty number lines to support calculation strategies by counting on from the largest number and using number bonds to bridge to the next ten.
So root out those beads and get counting!
Kath John - Catch Up® Accredited Trainer
Catch Up® is the working name of The Caxton Trust, a not-for-profit charity registered in England and Wales (1072425) and Scotland (SC047557) as well as a company limited by guarantee (03476510). Catch Up is a registered trademark.