I have several "high" academic students this year, and I'm wondering how I can best meet their needs. Our district does math workshop, which really helps because in addition to the mini-lesson (which is whole group), I also pull them once a week (with the lower kids getting pulled 2-3 times a week) for guided math groups. So, I do have a chance to see them as a small group and really tailor my instruction to their higher levels. Right now, we're focusing on addition strategies, and while I'm planning on covering strategies that might be a little bit harder (making a 10 with "number buddies" in a 3 addend problem, borrowing from one addend to make a ten with the other...ie: 9+5 is the same as 10+4), I'm wondering where to go from there once the strategies are covered. With the common core, we do addition to 20, but on our district standard assessments this fall (which adjusts the difficulty level of the questions based on how they answer previous ones), those kids were getting multiplication and division questions! They were also getting addition questions that were 3 digits plus 3 digits! Without wanting to directly "teach to the test", but also realizing that these kids are ready for some challenging stuff, where would you go from there? Teaching 2 digit vertical addition without/with regrouping? Starting basic concepts of multiplication? Thanks for your help!

I would stay with addition for these kiddos right now. I would give them a little bit more difficult word problems to focus on during the lesson. You can definitely move them into more placevalue (and 2 digit addition with pictures) if they are ready. Pull out the base ten blocks and let them add 2 digit numbers.

I'm not sure what program you're using but I'm having the same issue with my kids. We use Singapore Math, and I know online you can get 'intensive practice' problems that require a little more critical thinking than the textbook. Maybe giving them problems like that could help?

JenS, we are in limbo between using Trailblazers and creating our own district curriculum. I haven't found the Trailblazers stuff very helpful for these higher kiddos. I am doing more problem solving on the whole this year with the Common Core, but do you have any suggestions for how to enrich the problem solving to help them get at a deeper level? I keep reminding myself that "advanced work" doesn't always mean "more work", but sometimes I'm not sure what exactly pushing kids to a "deeper understanding" looks like. Mopar, thanks for the advice. I think I will stay with the addition- that does make the most sense. I'm assuming that it makes more sense to start with addition without regrouping, but should I stick with 2 digits, or doesn't it matter?

I would start with addition without regrouping first. In the beginning, I would start with 2 digits and then see if they can generalize to numbers with 3 or more digits. For your higher students, I would push them to use the manipulatives to solve problems and explain how and why they are solving the problem the way that they do. Maybe they can take pictures of the manipulatives (or draw them) and then record how and why they are doing these steps (or if high enough, they could write them down). Deeper understanding can be using more modalities. So for the common core, try including a picture representation, a model, manipulatives, explanation both verbal and written, and an equation/expression. To enrich the problem solving, you can have the students create their own problems (using a model). You can ask the students to illustrate the problem using pictures. You can ask them to illustrate or take pictures of each step that they use to solve the problems. The word problems could involve 3 numbers instead of 2 or double digit numbers. You could begin to include extraneous information or have students solve for multiple problems (find a total, find how many two classes have together).