Friday, 13 July 2012

Subtracting Freebie...knowing the Difference

In the province where I live (Quebec) we have, for every grade level, Competencies. They would be very similar, I would think, to what I read and often see on other people's blog posts - the common core, except for Texas where I think you call it TEKS? if I'm not mistaken. So, a child needs to satisfy the Competencies. And there are many and they are nightmarish. I think Shakespeare's long lost cousin helped write them. I won't bore you with them. Anyway, within the Competencies is something a little less nightmarish called the progression of learning. This I use to guide me. Mostly because I can understand it. So, my point, which I am getting to is, in Grade 1 Math, there are certain vocabulary words that my kids are expected to know. The usuals - addition, subtraction, plus, minus, sum, BUT... then there's difference. It is hard to teach little ones that word and help them to understand what it means. And then remember it.
No one really wants to call the answer when you subtract the difference. It's too long. So, I had to help it out. Enter Mr. Difference

Now, I know to all of you he is just the Scrappin Doodles zebra, but to me he is Mr. Difference and like any rock star, he has his own band - The Subtractors! This is how I teach the difference. The only other thing I add is the spelling. I thought, I've come this far, I might as well find a spelling trick. So, I borrowed Miss Honey's method (the movie Matilda)
It goes like this- Mr. D Mr. I Mr. FFE Mr. R Mr. E Mr. NCE. Miss Honey actually did it with the word difficulty.
So, I know what you are asking yourself...did it work? You bet your zebras it did! My kids never forget it now. They can spell difference and talk about differences until the zebras come home. I made a little packet out of it. It is your Freebie Friday. Just spreading the love. Click on Mr. Difference below to download.


  1. I love how creative Mr. Difference and the Subtractors are! Thanks for sharing and leaving me a comment on my classroom pics. :)

  2. This is adorable! I love it. Thank you so much for sharing. =)

    Heather's Heart

  3. I'm definitely doing this next year! Thank you for sharing such a fine way of learning!

  4. This is so fun! What a great way to help student remember! Thank you for sharing! Your blog is great. I'm giving you an award. Head on over to my blog to pick it up. :)
    Cathy :)
    C is for Cookies, Cakes, Children, Classroom, and Crafts