Good day from sunny Illinois! What wonderful weather we are having here for our spring break!

Today I come to you with a book review of an outstanding teacher resource written by one of my fellow math bloggers, Christina Tondevold, * The Recovering Traditionalist*. Her new book is titled,

*, and it is perfect for new teachers and seasoned teachers alike.*

**Fluency Through Flexibility: How to Build Number Sense (Numbers 0-20)**Thank you to Christina for sending me a copy of her book and some wonderful materials to accompany the activities included. Most of all, thanks to Christina for making such a positive contribution to our profession.

In reading the introduction, I especially appreciated the background Christina provides for what fluency means when it comes to students learning addition facts. Fluency involves:

**Efficiency**– a speedy way to get the answer**Accuracy**– getting the right answer**Flexibility**– having another way to approach a problem when it can’t be figured out

Christina goes on to stress the importance of flexibility. If students are not yet able to recall a fact, they need to use what they do know to help make the problem easier. This is something my second graders are able to do, yet it needs to be instilled in children through much exploration. An example of flexibility would be a student who cannot yet recall the sum of 8 + 9 but can use his/her current knowledge of number to create relationships between numbers. He/she might choose to:

- use doubles,
*“I know 8 + 8. That’s 16. 9 is just one more than 8, so 8 + 9 is 17.”* - use tens,
*“Well, one more than 9 is ten, so I can move one from 8 to make a ten. Then 10 + 7 is 17.”* - create landmark/benchmark or
*“friendly” addends, “I can think 8 + 10, and that’s 18. 18 – 1 = 17.”*

When a student has flexibility, he/she is able to think in this way. Without flexibility, Christina stresses, students will “revert back to counting on fingers.”

Number sense is SO much more than simply memorizing basic facts. This book will help you provide valuable experience for your students to explore numbers and discover relationships that lie within. Activities are organized into four areas, and these areas coincide with what students who have good number sense understand.

They understand:

**Spacial relationships**– recognizing how many without counting (subitizing)**One and two more, one and two less**– knowing which numbers are one and two less or more than a given number**Benchmark of 5 and 10**– knowing how numbers relate to 5 and 10**Part-Part-Whole**– seeing numbers as being made up of two or more parts

Christina provides a detailed description of each of the above areas in her introduction, and goes on to give suggestions for using the activities included.

Various tools are also used with the activities and some can be downloaded or purchased on Christina’s website, * Mathematically Minded*. Tools include subitizing cards, number paths, and the MathRack (rekenrek). It would be well worth your time to

**investigate Christina’s rationale for using a number path vs. a number line**for kindergarten and first grade students.

**What do I like about this book?**

- Christina’s introduction that provides sound rationale for using the activities included
- the variety of activities for use with students at different stages of development
- suggestion for what to “Look For” when observing students work within an activity
- suggestions for “Reuse” depending on how students are developing
- the adaptations/extensions that can be made to activities based on student need

**How will I use this book?** As a teacher who uses guided math, I

can pull various activities from this book to use in small guided groups

based on need, and the activities can also be done independently during

station work. I did not have Christina’s book at the beginning of the

year, so it will be a wonderful added resource as I help my new second

graders develop fluency through flexibility.

**What have I tried?** My second graders explored one of the part-part-whole activities, * Number Search (Numbers 11 to 20)*. I presented the activity one way with two game boards (one for each player) in plastic sleeves using dry erase markers. Students wrote a sum in the center of the game board and each took turns circling addends to add to the sum while saying the combination aloud,

*“10 plus 3 equals 13.”*The player with the most combinations circled was the winner. Natural questions arose.

*“Can we overlap?”*,

*“What about the other person who can see what you just circled?”*,

*“If the sum is 19, you can’t hardly circle anything.”,*etc. Their questions and suggestions led to some variations in game play that they created. They tried using one game board with two colors of markers, and they definitely wanted to overlap. Sums that yielded fewer combinations became games where three addends could be circled. The kids loved it!

*is also an activity I will be sending with the kids for at-home practice along with their math tool bags.*

**Number Search****Do you like what you’ve read?** Well, you can enter to win a copy of* Fluency Through Flexibility*, a MathRack, and Savvy Subitizing Cards–all donated by the author!

**How do you earn the most entries into this giveaway?**Share your thoughts about Christina’s new book in a comment–

*What sparked your interest?, What do you like?, How could you use it?,*etc. Good luck!

Keep in touch with Christina**, **her publications/materials, and professional development opportunities on her blog and website:

**The Recovering Traditionalist**

**Mathematically Minded**

Also–don’t miss Christina’s** free webinar** this coming Wednesday, April 8th. **Click here to register!**

AND, in the spirit of giving, the Easter Bunny has arrived early with a FREEBIE for you! Feel free to download this fun jellybean math activity Courtney created to use with her kids this year–* Jellybean Taste-Off: Jellybean Math Fun!* Simply click the pic to download!

Happy Easter to you and yours!

Nannette Perez says

This would be great to use at the beginning of the year. SO many of my students come in without number fluency and still using their fingers to count.

guidedmathadventures@gmail.com says

Christina's book would be perfect! Good luck with the giveaway!

Sarah

Mary Love Strange says

Math can be difficult for so many students. I'd love to win this great resource to help build student foundational skills in number sense and increase my knowledge of how to best teach it. Thanks for the opportunity!

guidedmathadventures@gmail.com says

You are so welcome! Fingers crossed! :0)

Smiles,

Sarah

Mrs. Carlson's 2nd Grade Class says

This would be a wonderful addition to my classroom. I am always looking for more ways to help students understand their math facts – not just memorizing. I have been using some Singapore math strategies and this seems like a great fit.

guidedmathadventures@gmail.com says

It would be perfect! Good luck! Thanks for your thoughtful comments.

Sarah

Mrs. Haffner says

This will be a fantastic resource!

Kellie Little says

I would love this. I follow the Recovering Traditionalist and love hers, and your posts

guidedmathadventures@gmail.com says

Thank you for the kind words! Good luck with the giveaway!

Sarah

Kim Gulledge says

I'm currently a math coach, but this is my first year working with first and kindergarten so it's completely new territory to me! I'm more comfortable with fractions and division! So…I'm constantly looking for new resources for number sense! This would be an AWESOME resource to have! 🙂

guidedmathadventures@gmail.com says

Christina's book would be a fabulous resource to help as you explore new territory! Good luck!

Sarah

Tammy F says

Thank you for this book review. I am looking forward to getting a copy of this book. I listened to Christina's webinar last week on developing number sense and it was fabulous. I am a math intervention teacher so will be able to put this book to good use 🙂

~Tammy

teaching-with-tammy.blogspot.com

guidedmathadventures@gmail.com says

Glad the review was helpful! I have signed up for Christina's next webinar and can't wait! Good luck!

Sarah

Beth Korda says

Looks like an amazing resource. Have you ever heard of TouchPoints? I started learning about it this year as an option to move away from fingers.

guidedmathadventures@gmail.com says

Thanks so much for stopping by! Yes, I have heard of TouchPoints, they have been around ever since I can remember, much less present in our schools today, and for good reason. I personally spent a considerable amount of time as a third grade teacher unteaching the use of TouchPoints to a large number of my students who had been taught to use them in previous years. All of them had a lack of conceptual understanding and in turn lacked the flexibility mentioned in this post to become fluent. I strongly discourage teachers against the use of TouchPoint math with their students. You and your students will be more appropriately served by a resource such as Fluency Through Flexibility and others that focus on helping students develop a strong sense of number and understanding of place value that will serve them well as they encounter more complex problems. I appreciate your comments, and good luck with the giveaway!

All the best–

Sarah

Catherine says

I've been looking for ways to really get my first graders to develop a solid foundation in number sense. I think this book would be an amazing addition to my knowledge base. Thanks for the opportunity! Catherine

guidedmathadventures@gmail.com says

Good luck with the giveaway! Thanks for stopping by!

Sarah

Em Hutchison says

I have been working so hard to improve my own number sense understanding and teaching. I have read and read and tried and tried. I like to get my hands on any good book I can to make my teaching better. I appreciate your suggestion and the things that you liked about the book. That is very helpful to others that are looking for good books!

Em

Curiousfirsties.com

guidedmathadventures@gmail.com says

Thanks for the kind words! Sounds like this would be a great book for you! Good luck…

Smiles,

Sarah

Amerrwet says

This would be a great resource to really gets kids to subitize numbers. I recently attended a number talks class and believe I would be able to use the two resources to really help my students. Math is my favorite subject to teach! Amerrwet@hotmail.com

guidedmathadventures@gmail.com says

Sounds like a great combo to me! You may also be interested in the Number Talks book study and Q & A with Sherry Parrish that is linked on our side bar… Good luck with the giveaway!

Smiles,

Sarah

Carol says

I am always looking for new ways to help my first graders develop number sense. This looks like a fabulous resource!

guidedmathadventures@gmail.com says

It sure is! Thanks for stopping, and good luck to you!

Terri Brown says

I have this book in my Amazon shopping cart. I follow Christina's blog, as well as yours. Keep the marvelous math coming!

guidedmathadventures@gmail.com says

Thanks so much! Maybe you will not need to checkout with amazon. Good luck to you!

Sarah

Lori Raines says

I would love to have this book to start off next school year!

kmanzano says

This would be great to use at the beginning of the year. I think some of the kids get it but can't extend it in other areas. I've struggled with a few not being able to do part part whole with 2 and 3 digit numbers while trying to get them to see that it's the same as single digit numbers that they can solve.

Tina Boley says

I teach struggling learners, and number sense is so critical especially for them. I would love to win this book so that I can create and guide my kiddos. Thanks!

yearn to learn says

Eager for the "Look For" cues embedded in this book. Thinking of ways to create a checklist or data collection sheet for myself as I work with students or small groups. I can imagine a tool that benefits quick identification of issues or gaps in learning and being able to note those learners quickly and bring them together in a very focused small group. Thanks for chance to own this text. Excited to explore all it has to offer.