and David Ward
One morning during the daily calendar routine, Ms. Baxter asks her 1st graders to think of a variety of ways to
express the number of the day— 12.
Her exuberant students come alive
with ideas to share. One child suggests
6 + 6, another 10 + 2. Others suggest
2 + 2 + 2 + 2 + 2 + 2 and 5 + 5 + 2.
Finally, another one proposes 11 + 1.
Ms. Baxter writes each expression on
The next day, she writes 12 =
___ + ___ on the board and asks the
students to recreate their thinking
from the day before. Expecting a flurry
of hands, Ms. Baxter is surprised when
her students’ faces show puzzlement.
“You wrote it wrong,” one child says.
“It’s backward,” says another. More
comments follow: “Put the 12 on
The new math
standards in grades
K– 2 highlight key
concepts that students
are expected to
why they’re important
and how teachers can
build on them.