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Showing posts with label mastering math facts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mastering math facts. Show all posts

### Ten Things for Students to Do While You're Teaching Math Groups

With the variety of skills students come to you with Mathematically, it's important to meet the needs of ALL students. Teaching Math in small groups is a great way to come closer to meeting their individual needs. The big question:

# What do the other students do while you're teaching math to small groups?

### Here are some of the things that students can do when the teacher is busy with other students.

#### 1.Independent Practice

Do you have a math series with workbook pages or practice sheets? This is where they fit in... but only if the children can perform these tasks on their own. Some of your more challenged students may need to be practicing skills that are more appropriate for them. They all love this, and it's a great way to build that number sense. (and easy to differentiate!)

#### 2. Working with a partner

Children are social beings and absolutely LOVE when they get to work together! For those children who are a little insecure in their skills, having a partner might help them build a little confidence. Plus, working with a partner leads to those rich conversations that help internalize learning.

#### 3. Playing math games

Children love games, and will play them over and over again! That means they'll be practicing the skills over and over! Try some of these popular Math games:
or try this collection

#### 4. Writing math stories

Some children LOVE to write! Here's a chance to let them do what they love while practicing math. Once they've written the math stories, they can share them with classmates for solving!

#### 5. Facts practice

If students spend 5 minutes a day practicing math facts, they will develop math fact fluency in no time at all. Here are a few posts that tell more about building math fact fluency.

#### 6. Explore math manipulatives

They do love those manipulatives, don't they? In order to learn with manipulatives, they need to KNOW the manipulatives. My favorites are pattern blocks and Cuisenaire Rods. Read about these here:

I'm a HUGE fan of Boom Learning Digital Task Cards, and so are the kiddos! Here are a few favorites:
Another option would be a digital math program. I've had much luck with Happy Numbers. It's a research-based individualized program that is easy to use and adapts to the mathematical needs of the students. Plus, teachers can see a record of how each child is doing! It's easy for the teachers and fun for the students.

#### 8. Practice with a teacher assistant or a parent volunteer

Some students need the assistance of an adult. I often refer to these adults as a "guest teacher." Sometimes, These adults have specific directions for their time with the child, and I'll let the child choose.

#### 9. Math puzzles and brain teasers

I'm sure you have plenty on hand, and the children love these! Here are some examples:
• Tangrams
• Sudoku
• Magic Squares
• Dominoes

#### 10. STEM activities

Who doesn't love a good STEM activity? This is a good time for children to work on a STEM problem that's already been introduced and needs more time, or one with easy directions, since the teacher is unavailable during this time.
Looking for some ideas on organizing these math activities?

## What do your students do while you're teaching math groups?

### 5 Minutes a Day to Math Fact Fluency

After many years in the primary classroom, I've finally developed a sure proof system for math fact fluency.

Math fact fluency is all about memorization.

Before this can happen, the children need to have a basic understanding of what it means. A child can't memorize 5+2=7 Unless they understand they are joining a set of 5 items to a set of 2 items and will end up with 7 items. Once they have that understanding, they can start the memorization process. Once the facts are fluent, the related math concepts will flow far more easily!

Yes, rote memorization is NOT the most fun part of learning.

Yes, it takes work, and some students really struggle, but we know they're all different and can help them be successful at their own levels.

## Here are some suggestions for math fact fluency!

There are 200 Addition and Subtraction facts to be memorized. There are also 200 Multiplication and Division facts to be memorized. Children can be easily overwhelmed if given that many facts all at once!

Give them a pattern of facts to learn at a time. Research tells us children learn best by fact families.

Each child should have a group of facts they are working on, but also a group of facts they know, and don't want to forget! Make sure they spend time reviewing the old facts as well as learning the new bunch!

Be right up front with the students. Talk about what memorization is, and how they need to do the work to memorize the facts. Share the differences between automaticity and "counting on fingers," or "figuring it out in your head." (I don't believe counting on fingers or mental math to be bad, as they are part of the process! However, we hope to get the kiddos to full automaticity eventually!)

Talk to them about what has helped you when you had to memorize something, and encourage them to share their own memorization experiences. We're all different, but sharing ideas will help everyone! (Isn't that our goal? Teaching children to help each other so we are all successful?)

Or as I call it in my classroom, "out soft." That means, loud enough to hear yourself, but not loud enough to disturb your classmates. Verbalizing the whole equation, not just the answer, makes an enormous difference in the learning process!

Practice with friends: children are social. Practicing with a classmate makes practice more fun. Some tend to be a little competitive: let that work for them, as long as everyone is happy about it. Plus, children learn little tricks from each other. (Yes, I've learned a lot of little tricks from listening to my students!)

Timed tests can be motivating for many, but there are others that "choke" with that stress. You know your students better than anyone. I give timed tests once a week, but if I see any signs of stress, I'll pull that child aside and work with them. I make it fun, but when one-on-one, I can clearly see if a child is counting on fingers, pausing to figure it out in their head, or truly has the facts memorized. No matter what, I make sure it is a positive experience with lots of praise for the things the child is doing correctly!

When I feel a child is ready to move to the next level, before school starts, I'll put the next level of practice cards on their desk, to be cut out and sorted. You'd better believe there are shreiks of delight when they are found! I'm sure you know plenty of other ways to celebrate their successes as well!

I spend time at the beginning of the school year setting routines. There are several ways the facts can be practiced: everyone practice on their own, practicing as part of math rotations, small group games, practicing on computers or devices, practicing with a teacher or adult helper, and so on! I usually teach the routines using "easy facts" before we get to the tougher ones. Once the routines are set, they're good to go!

Once a student has proved mastery of all the levels, of addition and subtraction, I might have that child review all the levels again. Another option is to move onto multiplication and division. Although mastery of these facts isn't necessary for first or second graders, those students who master addition and subtraction quickly are usually quite ready for the upper levels. (Just make sure they understand what it all means!)

Another option: have them work with others. Perhaps it's because my dad was a football coach, but I've always felt it's our job to look out for the whole "team," and that concept is well instilled in my students. We have not succeeded until we have all succeeded!

These are my foolproof systems for both levels. I swear by these materials! I've used them for years and found them to be successful (and loved) by both students and teachers.

Fact Fluency System for Addition and Subtraction: The Bundle

## Multiplication and Division Facts:

Fact Fluency System for Multiplication and Division: The Bundle

## or get them both in this bundle:

Math Fact Fluency Practice Activities and Assessments: Level One +1 Fact Families

Math Fact Fluency Practice Activities and Assessments: Level One X1 Fact Families

## I've been fascinated by the brain for years now. I've read about how the brain works, and the best ways to help children learn. I've applied this knowledge to my teaching and have had fabulous results!

These are some of the things I've learned about the brain!
Let's see how they relate to learning Math Facts!

We know that “Practice Makes Perfect” is a fallacy since we know if a child practices something incorrectly, he learns it incorrectly.  Whatever they practice needs to be accurate so the child learns it correctly.  (I’m sure you know how hard it is to break a bad habit!)  When practicing facts, it's important that the child practices the correct answer. Either have the correct answer on the back of flashcards, or have the child practice with someone who knows the answers!

This goes with the first idea: the kiddos need to know if they're getting the answer correct. If they are not, they need to know right away so they will practice it correctly.

Brains are much more likely to remember something if the learner uses more than one process. If the children are looking at the fact, saying the fact out loud, and moving manipulatives on the tens frame, they are more likely to remember the information than if they just looked at it. Another idea, stating the fact while jumping on one foot, or while doing jumping jacks.

When children work together, they are keeping the brain happy. Social interaction is HUGE when it comes to learning! This is one reason why games are great for learning math facts!

A little healthy competition gets the blood moving, bringing oxygen to the brain and helping the memory do its thing. This is another reason why games are great for practicing facts!

When the kids practice facts, it's a good idea to put fact families together: 4+7=11   7+4=11   11-4=7   11-7=4   or  3x6=18  6x3=18  18÷6=3  18÷3=6 This really helps the kiddos make the connections in the brain!

If it's possible color code copies of facts by fact families.
The brain really focuses on color, and helps make those connections!

This is why it's not a good idea to give the kiddos too many facts to study at a time. Start with just a couple of families, and build from there!

It is suggested that children spend 5 minutes a day, every day, rather than a half-hour once a week. It's actually less time, but it's more productive!

It is recommended that background music is played during practice times. This is a good time for a piece of classic music, not rock music or anything with lyrics.

## Hope this list helps your kiddos learn their facts!

This resource makes it clear just how many facts the children need to master!

It just so happens I have a set of addition and subtraction facts to practice that follow almost all these brain rules, (you have to supply your own music) and even has a few brain breaks worked in! See here if you're interested:

Update: Due to popular demand and success with the above set of addition and subtraction facts, I'm made a new version to practice and assess multiplication and division, which you can find here:

## This is no easy task, but this game helps them master the 9s trick!

I find, once the kids catch onto the tens trick, the nines trick is easy! I first use a number grid, like THIS ONE to show them how easy it is to do "ten more". From there, it's pretty easy to figure out "nine more".

Once they have a good understanding of the 9 more trick, they're ready to play Turkey Nines!  It works like "Old Maid", so they pair off all the addends and sums with nines, and one of your little turkeys will end up being the "Thanksgiving Turkey".

This is one of those games where "even the losers are winners" because there's something about cooking a turkey that makes the little ones giggle. Plus, they're getting better at that mental math!

Here's a fun little move about how the game works!

Want to give it a try? There's a smaller, free version here!

Have fun practicing mental math, and don't be a turkey!  (At least, don't be a cooked turkey!)

Want more turkey learning fun?

Or try the whole bundle at a huge discount HERE!