Trust your intuition. Did you know that even 4- and 5-year-olds can develop math intuition? Even students who don’t yet have a strong foundation of numeration can grasp the concepts of “the same” and “more.” Happy Numbers teaches students to rely on intuitive understanding by using a visual approach.

This post will show you how we at Happy Numbers teach young learners to compare without counting. Plus, we’re including FREE printables you can use in your classroom!

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For the youngest learners, explicit instruction of number permanence is vital to working with larger numbers, operations, and place value later on. Happy Numbers is here to help you teach this important concept.

In this post, we share ideas and strategies for teaching number permanence. Plus, at the end you’ll find FREE printables incorporating these ideas for numbers 1-3 and 4-5. Use them for independent practice, homework, or reteaching!

Make learning number permanence as easy as 1, 2, 3…

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With enough rote practice, most students can learn to “carry the one” or “exchange/trade ten” to solve multi-digit addition and subtraction problems. But to truly understand the process and become fluent with it, students need to take a look under the hood and see the place value principles at work behind the operations. That’s why at Happy Numbers we focus on why the standard algorithm works, rather than how it works. We believe that by building understanding first, fluency will follow (and not vice versa). As a result, students are better able to find and correct errors and they are better-equipped to work with larger numbers and even decimals.
This post will share some of the activities we suggest for building deep conceptual understanding of column addition and subtraction. We’ll also explain how we scaffold instruction to help students create meaning, rather than just memorize steps. All of the activities shown are available at Happy Numbers, but you can re-create them in your classroom offline as well…

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Two great reasons to use shopping-based exercises throughout your math instruction: students investigate concepts thoroughly by applying skills to a new situation, and the math itself is what piques student interest (rather than a separate, unrelated reward). We’ll show you how we scaffold this approach across a range of skill levels and how your students can benefit from shopping activities online or off!

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Students learning to add and subtract 2-digit numbers must rely on a solid foundation of place value understanding. Few resources emphasize place value as well as the hundred chart. It allows for more advanced 2-digit operations, which can become cumbersome with manipulatives such as base-10 blocks. Adding this tool to your shed will give you one more way to reach learners in your class — we’ll show you how…

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Research shows that using multiple representations of an idea is a powerful approach to promote deeper mathematical thinking and conceptual understanding for your students. We recently blogged about the teaching potential of base-10 blocks and of the number line. Now, we would like to share with you the power of the hundred chart and how you can use it to create meaning with your students…

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A common misconception about math, held by children and adults alike, is that it’s about knowing formulas, methods, and procedures. Indeed, these aspects of math are important, but what’s much more important – even essential – is an understanding of the meaning behind those formulas, methods, and procedures. Regrouping and exchanging in two-digit addition and subtraction is one such procedure that is often used without understanding the underlying concepts. At Happy Numbers, we aim to resolve this misconception by designing activities that are visual, concrete, and coherent. Here, we would like to share with you some ideas we use to approach this challenging topic…

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