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The Importance of 10

Yesterday, I posted about effective fact practice. Developing automaticity with addition and subtraction facts begins with subitizing, which is why it’s so important that our Kinder babies get a lot of practice with that skill. The next building block is knowing combinations for 5 and 10. If a student has instant recall of 3 + 7, it sets the stage for knowing 4 + 7. That’s the idea behind teaching facts with a strategy-based approach. Here’s a quick and easy little workstation using ordinary playing cards (remove the face cards) to practice combinations for 10. Notice that by using the playing cards and ten-frames, it is a representational (from CRA) activity, which is better for conceptual understanding than abstract flash cards.

Download yours here. ย You might also like this subtraction version.

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  1. The Friends of 10 are so fun to teach! I love how they use 2 different colors…such a great visual!!! Thanks so much Donna!!!!


  2. LOL! We actually have names for each friend. 1,9 straight backs,
    2,8 curvy heads,
    3,7 swingers and when we write it on the board we hang the 7 off the 3,
    4 and 6 connectors… We make a 4 and go straight into a 6,
    5,5 twins
    0,10 the zero heroes
    Kids love the names and love drawing them, and it’s amazing how something so simple helps them remember this skill!!!!

    1. Thanks, Lisa! It’s a pleasure for me, and I’m glad it’s useful to others. I hope you’ve linked up your blog on my Blog Hop page!


  3. I have stumbled upon your blog…. I WOULD BUY A BOOK with all your ideas in it! Thank you for getting my creative summer mind working! Your math activities blend beautifully with Number Literacy! Thank you!

  4. Love your game ideas! Just found your blog from a post at Room Mom 101. I’m glad to be your newest follower.
    First Grade Found Me

  5. Thanks for sharing this great activity. Lots of my firsties had trouble with this concept last fall, and this will be very helpful.

  6. What a fantastic blog. I am addicted to visiting. Each time I visit I find something I plan on using. Thanks for sharing!!!

  7. Hi there, I love the new ideas from your page. I can’t get the Deal out a 10 sheet to come up. Is it on a TpT page? Thanks! Elizabeth

    1. No, that ones is only in Google Docs. Sorry you’re having trouble with it. You clicked on the picture and it didn’t open? Do you get an error message or something?

  8. Love this!! Any chance that you’ll create a second version where you turn over two cards, color that number with one color, and use another color to complete the two ten-frames? This would be a good fit for my higher math students.

  9. I taught 2nd grade for 5 years. So many started 2nd with me not fluid with 10! This will help me get these Kinders on the right road.


    1. I taught FIFTH grade and many still were not fluent with 10! So much more emphasis on number sense I think now.

  10. Awesome..brilliant…I like those Math ideas that you share in your blog and I keep on practice it in my classroom. Smart, easy and very effective.Thank you for sharing.

  11. This great! Thank you! I know you focus on k-5 but do you have any resources as far as manipulatively for sixth grade concepts?

    1. Christine, many of the same manipulatives used for upper elementary work well for sixth graders. I also wanted to share this blog post on middle school manipulatives.

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