Monday, January 6, 2014

Increasing Math Fact Fluency with a Walk Through the Rainbow!
Hello all!  We're Tamra and Sarah of First Grade Buddies.  We're so excited to be joining this AWESOME group of authors on Who's Who and Who's New!  So we have already been back to school for 2 days!  The kiddos were great, but it was hard to be too productive.  We had the kiddos partnering up for lots of independent centers and we took time to get some materials prepped for all the new stuff we are starting...non fiction in reading, how to and all about in writing, rocks in science, and time and shapes in math.  One new routine we like to start in the new year is fact fluency.  Last year we created a new system, Rainbow Math, for encouraging our kiddos to master their addition facts.  It was a BIG hit with our kiddos and our parents!  
Next week, our kiddos will each get a ring of red facts, "the +1's."  We send the ring home with an intro letter to parents giving the specifics of Rainbow Math and the testing days.  We assign 2 days a week that kiddos can be "tested" on their facts.  On a testing day, we have our TA or parent volunteer flash through the facts and have kiddos recall the answer.  It is all done orally.  As with sight word assessments, we give kiddos about 3 seconds to give the right answer.  We want to build that automaticity with the facts.
As kiddos master each fact level, they will get a new level to work on and their ring will continue to grow with more colors of the rainbow! 
Kiddos often keep their Rainbow rings on their backpacks so they can easily grab them to practice in the classroom.
These kiddos are practicing together!  We've seen lots of kiddos practice during snack time too!  It is so great to see how much they LOVE them!  
Soon enough, we have LOTS of rings that are full of facts!  The inspiration to create this system came from a continual call from upper grade teachers.  They repeatedly comment about how strong math fact knowledge at the basic level helps when kiddos are doing more complex, multi-step problems.  Fact fluency is a very important building block for many math skills!
It was such a hit last year, we've been able to talk our entire grade level into using the system!  Since we are doing it as a grade level, we were able to have the principal approve the materials be sent to the print shop.  In the past, we've written grants and asked parents for a $1 donation to cover the cost of the materials.  As with many of the resources we create, we try to make them efficient so they don't use too many materials.  Our Rainbow Facts come 2 sets on a sheet.  They are black and white, so they just get printed on colored paper.  

Again, we are lucky to have support in cutting out the facts to get them ready.  Our TA and parents volunteers cut and organize our facts.  This makes it easy to grab the next level if a kiddos passes when they are tested.  
Since we are starting a bit earlier this year with our Rainbow Math rings, we're hoping to get more kiddos through the subtraction facts as well!  Those large rings are going to come in handy!
Here is a peek at all the materials included in our Rainbow Math kits. We give the fact cards in B&W to print on colored paper or in color for printing with colored ink.  We give an intro letter, record keeping sheets, paper tests (if you prefer this method or need evidence of growth), and certificates for each level passed.
We have Rainbow Math sets for Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, and Division.  In honor of this post, we're putting our 2 pack sets on sale for $5 (reg. $8).  Click the pictures above to go to our TpT store.

We know many teachers go back to school today.  We hope you have a great start back to school!!  Also, we'd love to get some comments about how you work on Math Fact Fluency in your classroom!


  1. What a great idea! This could be adapted to be a great way for my Kinders to practice their sight words. Thank you for sharing.

  2. What a fun idea! I like the idea of adding a new color each time they master a set. It's a quick visual for me to see how each kid is doing.

  3. Oh my goodness, you have saved me! I was just talking to one of my teammates about a group of our kiddos is not doing well mastering their facts in their intervention group, mainly because they are not motivated, not because they don't know the strategies. This may just be the fun incentive they need! Thank you! ~ Lisa

  4. Love how students can clip them to their backpacks.

  5. Those are great! We do something similar with sight words, but they are colored gum balls. They ask me every day if they can test on their bubble gum words! We just really delved into addition/subtraction so this is perfect!

    Teachery Tidbits

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