"There are five birds and three worms." That's the set-up.
The pay-off is that Tom Hudson found significant improvement in achievement when he asked primary students, "How many birds won't get a worm?" instead of "How many more birds than worms are there?"
Two things that probably go without saying:
- Your students with poor math achievement may be achieving poorly at something besides math. Like language.
- It's hard not to love a job that rewards this kind of obsessive attention to detail.