Addition: Teaching to the Common Core! {freebies included}

Last week we started to cover addition!  Needless to say I am EX-CITED!  My students have worked so hard this year building math foundation skills.  We are now soaring with all of our new learning!  In this post I hope to share all of the ways I teach addition in my classroom.  I have worked hard to prepare material that requires students to deepen their thinking and elaborate their answers to meet the Common Core’s expectations.  A lot of the material that I use in my classroom to teach addition I have created myself.  Simply because I was not able to use textbook material {too easy or not “deep enough”} or find information and activities that were at a Kindergarten level of thinking!

So let’s get started already……

I introduce addition by pulling out our number bracelets again {Again?  We also used number bracelets waaaay back when we first introduced number id}.  See below for more detailed information on how to make the number bracelets.  I give each student a number bracelet.  Each number bracelet has a set number of beads with a matching number label {see below}.
You can see this student has the number 3 bracelet.  We then find combinations of each number or the “story of” that number {see more for this below}.  Along with finding the “story of” each number we also complete number bracelet recording sheets. 
These recording sheets have the students draw the beads on each bracelet {not sure why this kiddo hasn’t done that haha!}  The student then write the number sentences on the give spaces.  These recording sheets are one of my freebies so grab the packet below!
The students in the above picture are manipulating the beads during a Teach!  Okay! session with their partner. 
How to Make Number BraceletPipe Cleaner
Plastic Beads
Mailing Labels

I purchase the pipe cleaners and plastic beads from the Dollar Store.  I place the set number of beads on the bracelet, twist the pipe cleaner to make a bracelet, write the set number on the label, lastly place the label over the twisted part of the bracelet.  Yes, your fingers will be feeling the pain!

I store each set of bracelets in a Ziploc baggie and then store the baggies inside a plastic shoebox for easy access!

Click below for the Number Bracelets practice sheets freebie!  There are two sets of practice sheets.  The first version is for number id and the second set is for addition!
Along with the number bracelets and practice sheets we also work on the “story of” each number.  This is SO vital in the students true understanding of addition and how 2 numbers make up one number.  I make a class set of the “story of” posters and before I fill in the missing numbers the students have to first manipulate the beads on their bracelets to discover the missing number.  For example, in the story of 3 the posters states “2 and ___ make 3.”  So the students manipulates 2 beads on one side of their bead to discover that “2 and 1 make 3!”  See examples below!
Story of 5 Classroom Poster
The above picture shows the student manipulating the beads on their bracelet to complete each story of 4 line.
If you are interested in these sheets see below!
This number bond practice packet sells for $4 in my store!  Click the above image to view!
Along with number bracelets and “story of”, my students also are introduced to number bonds!  Number bonds go hand-in-hand with number bracelets and story of!  My kids are working hard to deepen their thinking and understanding of number bonds.
The above image shows the number bond I wrote on the whiteboard our first day working with them!  I handed out 5 spoons to all of my students.  They worked with their partner to come up with combinations of 5.  Students would turn down a portion of the spoons to show the combination.
5 +0 is 5
4 + 1 is 5
2 + 3 is 5
I then called up students to share and explain the answers they got!  We also used the spoons as a way to work through our “story of” practice sheet.
We also worked with our number bonds on the Smartboard!  These sheets are also found in my number bond practice sheets packet I mentioned above!
I also use the below number bond cards as a discussion starter and in the hallway to review! They sell for $4 in my TpT store.  Click below to view!
With the Common Core Kindergartners should be able to FLUENTLY add within 5!  I have found a couple of ways to assess and assure that my students are mastering this standard!  The first being flash cards!  OH golly you’re saying…flashcards in Kindergarten?  Well, the kids actually enjoy them and we have a fun time with it! 🙂  We review  the flashcards in the hallway as a review and I also send a set home with students to practice at home.  It is SO hard to find Kindergarten flash cards with sums only to 5, but  I did find some!  Click below to view…if you’re interested they sell for $2.
Along with fluency flash cards I also give my students timed fluency tests!  Not sure about you, but I remember loving to take Mad Minutes in school when I was a kid!  I give my students one minute to take their timed test.  I keep track in my grade book who has/has not passed that give test.  After they have passed the level {+0,+1,+2,+3,+4,+5} twice I move them to the next level.  If you are interested see the link below! They sell for $3.
Along with sums to 10 and fluently adding with 5…students will also need to complete addition word problems!  My kids have had a blast working on my addition word problems!  If you have not been fortunate to check these out yet click on the freebie below!
Also find the Common Core Assessments I use in this freebie packet!

Now for some awesome interactive videos & games!  Click on the image to view the freebies!
Interactive Fingers
What number is under the shell?

Combinations of 10
Critter Junction: Addition

Addition Sign
Be sure to check on this site that is loaded with freebie addition resources!
And of course we need videos too….

Have a great week friends!


  1. Thank you Tara for always being an inspiration to me and being a positive role model for using the Common Core! I use so many of your ideas and products to help me teach CC. I feel that even though our district is just beginning to use CC (yes, we are that behind) I am ahead of the game because of you! I hope I get to see you again at a conference!

  2. All these ideas and packets are great!! I went to TPT and have everything on my wishlist-soon to be purchased (It's 5:30 am and the printer wil wake my husband!). I am so excited to use your ideas. Thank you very much.

  3. Thanks so much. We are soon to be starting our units on addition and subtracting. You really put it all together so well. Love the resources on the computer. Can't wait to share them with my class.


  4. Tara… lOVE all of your resources! you rock! Hey.. I'm assuming you have a math series that you follow for your units. Just wondering what it was. Thanks for all you do!

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