Updated: Nov 29, 2019
Math Facts...insert eye roll here...How many times as this been a conversation among parents and teachers? We drill students with flash cards in the car, while waiting in line, as they walk in the door- any way we can possibly help them to remember their math facts.
While all of these are great things to do, I have often found that it doesn't stick. Some students will memorize them, some will forget them as soon as I stop drilling them, and some students just never memorize them. How on earth do we help our precious students learn their math facts so they can work efficiently in other areas of mathematics?
From my own teaching experience, I have realized that I came at this from the wrong perspective. I thought fluency meant that they could recall the answers quickly. After doing a little bit of research, I found the real meaning of fluency is "involves a mixture of just knowing some answers, knowing some answers from patterns and knowing some answers from the use of strategies." (Common Core Progression Documents)
Further research from Arthur Baroody states that students have to have experience manipulating numbers through the discovery of patterns and relationships to begin creating the visualization necessary for mastery of math facts. Students must first work through concrete experiences with counting and number sense to see how numbers work together.
All of this research led me to thinking about how ANY teacher can help ANY student master their math facts. How can we assess our students in a way that is meaningful? How can we provide different activities for students that teach a specific strategy?
I've spent the past few weeks creating a FREE 50-minute webinar presentation that I wanted to share with you. I promise you- it will change the way you think about math facts by looking at how students go through a process to lead to memorization. It will provide you with assessment opportunities from known researcher Jennifer Bay-Williams and look at specific activities that will help ANY student learn their math facts and retain them. This one looks at multiplication and division facts, but an addition and subtraction one will be coming soon!
If that isn't enough, I created an 81-page document that includes everything you need to assess your students and several games for students to begin playing right now. Just print, laminate, cut , and you have 20 games that students can play with differentiation options and reflection questions! Check out my shop to download it right now!
I truly believe that students need to master their math facts to be successful. It helps them in so many areas and gives them confidence in moving forward. However, I also believe that we have to have a plan in place to get there. I hope that you find these resources just as valuable! Let me know what you think in the comments!