Addition Strategies with Number Talks

Finally! We are ready to start exploring the addition strategies. I know that it was mentioned in previous chapters but I really wanted to focus first on building the foundation, readying the room, understanding the goals, and setting procedures. Not that we have this… we are ready to watch our students truly understand math… perhaps for the first time.

Counting All/Counting On

Counting all is the first strategy students use to learn to count. The student literally counts 1 by 1 starting at one to solve the equation. I found these great posters for FREE at Step into 2nd Grade with Mrs. Lemon. Drawing a picture is an excellent help for counting all.

draw a picture


Counting all the students start with the largest number and count up. The can count by ones or skip count by any number. This can be done using a number line or a hundreds chart.

counting on

Doubles/Near Doubles

Many people have memorized doubles as we practice this a lot with skip counting.


Near doubles means just counting up one more.  I have seen students in older grades use doubles then add 2 or 3 more as a more advanced version of this strategy.

Near Doubles


I also found this great rap to go with helping my students learn doubles. Its on my YouTube Channel as well. Whenever I find something for my students I have been adding it there. I am warning you, that I just recently started using this and so there is not a lot there yet. I am expecting it to grow leaps and bounds this upcoming school year.

Or here is another version… It goes with the poster above.


Making Tens

Developing fluency with making tens is an important skill! Students need to be able to decompose numbers quickly to make 10. This will build fluency and expedite adding. There is a great app called Magic 10 for those of you with iPads in the classroom. The game costs $0.99 but it is an excellent way to practice this strategy.

make 10


While Step into 2nd Grade with Mrs. Lemon has some great strategy posters for addition and subtraction strategies… she doesn’t have all of them to go with this series. However, I do! It will be part of my new product created just to go along with this book that I will be debuting after our book study.

Making Landmark or Friendly Numbers

These are numbers that are easy to add in mental computations. Typically fives, multiples of tens, and monetary amounts. Students will add or subtract to create a friendly number.  Look at 18+5. The student can add 2 to 18 to make 20. The problem is now 20+3 which is simpler to add.

friendly number

Breaking Each Number into Its Place Value

We use this one a lot in Investigations (our math curriculum) but I like introducing this as a Number Talks as well to reinforce this vital skill. Each addend is broken into is expanded for.

place value


By manipulating numbers into friendly numbers, students remove a specific amount from one addend and give that to another to make a friendly number.


Adding Up in Chunks

This is similar to breaking a number into its place value but is slightly more efficient.  Instead of breaking both numbers into its place value you keep one addend whole and break apart the second one.

Number Talks also comes with a DVD that includes examples of just how to use these strategies and implement Number Talks in the Classroom. It does a much better job at explaining each example and how it is best used. The box also has in the introduction the standards that correlate with each strategy!

Feel free to join our book study at any time! To catch up, simply visit my link all about Number Talks. Be sure to either bookmark this page or follow me as I will be posting more throughout the year on how I use this great resource! If you still need to purchase the book, simply click on the picture below.

Grab the picture and add to your post on Number Talks 

Some questions to leave you with until next week:

  • What is your favorite strategy?
  • Do you use other strategies with your students?
  • Do you think that these are important skills for students to have?
  • How would you use these strategies in your classroom?

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