Subtraction Post Test

The past three weeks have all been 4-day weeks... which ultimately means I am rushing around to attempt to keep my head above water only to come to the end of the week with an unchecked to do list haunting me.

I love 4-day weeks, but I do not love three 4-day weeks in a row... especially right before report cards are due.

Our RTi groups went on as scheduled and I really enjoyed this first math-focused RTi!  I found a great routine with my RTi students and by the end of the three weeks each of my ten students had at least one strategy that they could use to be successful at subtracting two digit numbers with regrouping.  


We started each RTi meeting with individual white boards.
On my smart board I would write three 2-digit subtraction equations.  

Students copied the equations and began working.

I walked around with my white board marker helping students remember key steps
**draw a line to separate the tens and the ones
**look at the numbers in the ones place, circle the bigger number
**is there "more on top" "more on the floor" "numbers the same"
**what do you do next?
**and then what?
**repeat the WHOLE equation with the answer

Then I called on students to walk me through solving the equations on the smartboard (think through the steps out loud)

After about 15- 20 minutes of working on white boards, we put our white boards away and students worked independently on a worksheet with 10 - 15 subtraction equations.  
During this time I pulled the students who were not "getting it" to figure out a strategy that worked better for them. 

One huge AH-HA moment happened with one of my ELL students.  He and I worked on the algorithm for at least 10 minutes straight one day, following the steps, repeating the poem, and then I saw that imaginary lightbulb go off.

And it was oh-so-bright! 

He was so excited that he said "I get it!!  This is easy!"  
The next day, I made him a student-teacher and that drove his confidence through the roof.

We worked through this same routine for three weeks.  By the end of the three weeks most of the students in my group were getting so good at the algorithm that I gave them the challenge of 3-digit numbers with regrouping (only regrouping for the ones place), and many found this challenge fun and exciting!

RTi Highlights:

*Most of my students were able to do the algorithm
*For one, counting back using a hundreds chart (counting back by tens, then ones...) worked best
*For one, (one of my low low SPED students) was able to do the algorithm with my support...but by golly she knew the poem!

More on top,
No need to stop.

More on the floor,
go next door to get ten more.

Numbers the same,
Zero's the game.

For this SPED student she did the thinking and I did the writing (following her directions).  She did AWESOME when we did the problems this way, however :( , when it came time for the post test, I had her do the test all on her own and she went right back to her old ways...this was quite disheartening.

4 (all correct)            = 1 student =    4%           10 students = 45%
3 (8 correct)             = 3 students = 14%                 6 students = 27%
2 (7 or 6 correct)      = 9 students = 41%                  4 students = 18%
1 (5 or less correct)   = 9 students = 41%                  2 students = 9%


I am so proud of my students!  They worked hard at this math skill, a skill that is really not expected until 3rd grade, and less than 100 days into 2nd grade 72% of my students can do it successfully on their own!

YAY!!!!  RTi is hard work for students and for teachers, but seeing success like this makes my heart so very happy.  I am proud of my 2nd graders, and I am proud to be working with a group of professionals who work hard every day to meet the varied needs of our students.


  1. A teacher's heart smiles when they see this...and more importantly the kiddos feel successful! =)

    I am your first follower and would love for you to come visit me when you get the chance. I have an inspirational poem titled "Teach ME" that I would love for you to read! =)

    Heather's Heart

  2. Thanks, Heather! I will check out the poem and your blog :)