Make Math Moments Academy › Forums › Full Workshop Reflections › Module 5: Planning Your Problem Based Lessons › Lesson 56: Proceed or Pivot › Lesson 56: Question › Reply To: Lesson 56: Question

In many ways, the need to pivot came when I realized the way math was taught, when I returned to the classroom, was so different from what I had taught +20 years ago or even what I had experienced as a child. I had to learn so many new representations of numbers, how to use manipulatives more effectively (though I had used them before), and how to put an understanding of numeracy first and foremost. Many of my first lessons were more “old school” in that I “taught” techniques and tricks instead of real understanding.
Subtraction of multidigit numbers is a good example. “More on the floor, go next door and get 10 more.” “More on the top, no need to stop.” Great sayings, right? Only for the kids who already got it. Those who didn’t just switched the digits in the numbers to subtract the smaller digit from the larger digit. I needed to step backwards and make sure they had a clear understanding of place value and quantity (conservation?) before I could teach subtraction using more concrete representations and pictorial models first.