commutative property?

Growing up, I knew that 5+4=9 and 4+5=9, but I didn't know it was commutative property.
I didn't learn that stuff until college (I wasn't a great listener in grade school).

But my students are required to know what commutative property is and define it...

When it comes to teaching hard words to first graders, my philosophy is to do it in song.

Commutative Property
(sung to the tune of Yankee Doodle)

Commutative Property is when we're adding.
You switch the addends,
and that's okay,
because the sum stays the same!

My students love singing this song. They think it makes them sound so smart.  They love singing it like babies, papa bears, rockstars, opera singers, spookey ghosts, rappers (they are the ones who came up with this one), fancy nancy, mama bear, etc.

After we sing it, I always have someone come up to the
board to show an example of commutative property.

How do you teach commutative property?


  1. That's so funny because they have to learn the properties in 4th grade, too! The song sounds really cute and I'm sure it is a great way for 1st graders to memorize it!

  2. I haven't ever called it that in first! I did in fourth grade. I'll have to try this song. I do constantly tell my kids how we are SO going to WOW/Knock the Socks Off those second grade teachers with our smarts!

  3. I love this, we still need songs in 3rd grade ~ Thank You!
    Fern Smith’s Classroom Ideas!

  4. we call in flip-flopping at the beginning of the year and then i tell them that mathematicians call it "commutative property" and they get so excited!


thanks for the love ♥

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