Posted in Current Posts

Are You CRA-CRA?

So I’m on day three of being sick and I’ve had tons of time to resear—I mean rest on the couch. While I’ve been resting, I’ve watched video three of Number Sense.  In video 3, Christina Tondevold is teaching about CRA method of presenting information.


Concrete: hands-on manipulatives to represent a number concept or situation such as three red discs and four green discs to make seven discs.

Representational: a drawing or a model made by the child of a number concept or situation such as students draw three red balloons and four blue balloons to make seven balloons.

Abstract: symbols only such as 3 + 4 = 7

So what’s so CRA-CRA about this concept? We’ve been doing this for years, right? The CRA-CRA part is: we need to do these three concepts all at once, all together.

‘Fess up!

You know how it usually goes, Day One we have the teddy counters out and Day Two we’re cranking out the worksheet. All three pieces CRA must happen together so the kids can put it together in their mind.  Concrete and Representational and Abstract. All three, all together, always. And what step do we usually skip? Representational. We must give our students time to reconstruct their learning through creating.

I’d like to add another piece to the whole CRA-CRA model:Talk-Talk. 

When children talk about their thinking, they can move the learning from the working part of the brain to the storage part of the brain. And then it is theirs for keeps!

Tomorrow, when you’re teaching, remember to go CRA-CRA. Your students and parents will thank you!

Want more information on CRA? Follow the links!


The Recovering Traditionalist

Mathematically Minded

by Mary Kay Kane

all rights reserved. copyright 2017

Post is based on work from Christine Tondevold.


A Christian woman who wants to make a difference in the world.

2 thoughts on “Are You CRA-CRA?

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