Monday, March 23, 2015

Mastering Math Facts

Hi there!  It's Anita from Primary "Teach"spiration, and I'm here to give some tips on helping all of your students to master their math facts.

Getting EVERY student in your class to master math facts can sometimes be a challenge!  We all know it's much easier for some than others, so we must have a plan to help every student become successful.  This can be accomplished by allowing your students to learn the facts at their own pace - Ah-ha, differentiation!  Realizing this years ago, I came up with this simple methodical format for making every individual in my class successful at memorizing addition (and subtraction) facts.  And it never failed me; in fact, it worked beautifully!  Most of you probably already do something similar, but I'm in a mood to share. So here it goes!

I've always taught at a second grade level, so my plan centers around second grade, but can easily be adapted to other grades.  At my school, there are four nine-week quarters.  So, my schedule for teaching mastery of addition and subtraction facts was divided between those four quarters as such:

1st Quarter  - Addition facts within 10
2nd Quarter -Subtraction facts within 10
3rd Quarter - Addition facts within 20
4th Quarter - Subtraction facts within 20.

I begin 1st Quarter with every student practicing in a variety of ways:

We use the flashcards to practice in different ways.  Sometimes we divide up into two teams and
play Math Baseball as shown below. Other times, we play Around the World.  Yet, other times, I pair up students to use the flashcards to quiz one another. Whichever way we practice, they love it!


One of the games the kids love to play is Math Baseball.  In this game, the class is divided into two teams.  Each team huddles together to choose a team name; then I write the team names near the top of the white board.  I stand at the front of the room with the flashcards, while the two teams line up in separate lines facing me.  We flip a coin to determine which team is "up to bat" first.  I stand in front of the first person in line of the "batting" team and lift the first flashcard.  He has 5 seconds to give the correct answer.  If he does, it is considered a hit and  he moves to first base (I have the bases posted around the room).  If he misses, it is considered a strike and he moves to the back of his line. When a students makes it around all bases to Home Plate, he puts a tally mark on the white board under the team name.   After three outs, the next team "bats" and play continues.  The kids love it when I act as the announcer with things like, "Jones is up to bat with two men on base!"  For time's sake, I often make shortcuts, such as only two outs or I leave out third base.  It all depends on the time allowed.


One of my math centers is the math facts station.  I switch it up with the group of facts that the majority of the class is working on.  The center activity varies from task cards to game boards, and more.

                                                              Pencil & Paper 

There are varying opinions about whether ordinary pencil and paper worksheets are a good thing or not.  In my personal experience, I have found that if students are required to complete just one math facts worksheet every day, consistently, the odds of them truly learning the facts are increased exponentially!  This does not negate the importance of also practicing in other fun ways.  In fact, the combination is key to mastering the facts.

I also include practice as a brief part of homework in whatever way the child and parent choose.

For the first week of addition fact practice at school, we begin with +0,+1.

Every day students will practice in the various ways, and then take a daily "mad minute" quiz to assess mastery.
I cut this sheet into four strips (20 problems).  Students are timed to complete a strip in one minute.

Those who pass the quiz 100% will also take a timed final assessment.  I require 75% to confirm mastery before they move to the next set of facts.

Once mastery is confirmed, they will continue to practice +0,+1 for the week, but will also move on to practicing +2 facts.

Those who don't pass right off will have the opportunity to do so by quizzing each day until mastery is achieved.  It usually only takes that first week for most everyone to master +0,+1, so I usually only give about a week before moving on to the first +2 quizzes (given at the same time as any +0,+1 quizzes if needed).  We practice +2 (along with +0,+1 review) for that second week, and usually another week before most everyone has mastered +2 (+2's are much harder).

Then we move on to +3 in the same way, and so on with a goal of everyone passing all levels by the end of the first quarter.  At that time, I give a cumulative timed final assessment of all the facts covered first quarter.

2nd Quarter I follow the same format with subtraction facts within 10: 1st week -0, -1,  2nd week -2, etc.  Third and fourth quarters follow suit.

Thanks for stopping by!  I hope you've enjoyed reading about how I was able to help my students be successful at mastering their math facts.  And I hope it will be helpful to you!

You can download a free copy of my directions to the Math Baseball game by clicking on the image.

If you're interested in my Math Facts Mega-Bundle, CLICK HERE.  Or you can find the individual packs and bundles at my STORE.  And please feel free to visit my BLOG any time!


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