## Feb 7, 2015

Better Way to Practice Math Facts!  FREEBIE WITH RECORDING SHEET!

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 READ BELOW FOR A GREAT WAY FOR KIDS TO PRACTICE THEIR ADDITION FACTS!

Over the years I watched kids struggle to learn the basic math facts.  I started out giving timed tests and   I noticed what slowed them down was saying the number sentence in their head (or whispering it)..."four plus three equals" and then writing the answer.  To speed  up they just needed to see the numbers without the + and =...like looking at numbered dice!   So with that thought in mind, I made number squares from 0-10 and gave each child two sets(one for home).  Most 2nd graders come in with +0 and +1's mastered, so we went over those rules and then most started on +2's(or higher).

Here is how it works: We start on Monday.  Children write their +2's on a whiteboard or paper so that I know they are practicing the correct answers. Then they get 6 minutes of practice.

The children put the 2 card out on their desks.  It never moves.  They hold the deck of the other cards face up in their hand and begin to lay them one by one next to the two while they add mentally and say the answer.  They keep rotating through the deck until I call time. I tell them that I want them to be so fast at it that they are bored because that means it is in their long term memory. By Friday, most have the +2's mastered. While they move to partner activities, I call them one by one to test them.  It only takes about  30 seconds per child! They bring their cards and show me how fast they can go. They are really excited to use the cards since it is the same method in which they have practiced. The best part is, each child can go at their own pace (no timer to make them nervous!)  I can tell who is hesitating to figure it out in their head and who is just a little slower with recall  It is my call, those who I feel have mastered the facts move to the next number the following Monday. Those who don't remain on the same number the next week. I do offer small Punky Doodles when they pass a motivation.  They come in all shapes and sizes.  You could use stickers or nothing at all :).

THREE OTHER PERKS OF THIS METHOD
-no test anxiety because they aren't racing against a clock or their classmates
-no typing into computer games, no running off timed tests
-you will KNOW each week where your students are in the math fact COMMOM CORE expectation
and so will their parents

One more thing I did that helped my students was to get rid of dotted dice. I "forced" them to do math facts on each game that they play by using the kind with numbers instead.  My favorites are the quiet foam dice. Yay! Quiet!!!!

I have also been working on a beginning facts math game for a small group of 4-6 players. This is a take on an old card game I used to play.  I've also been drawing again...I enjoyed drawing the snakes!

 Click Math games have long been known to help children learn and retain basic math skills.  I remember playing Hi Ho Cherry-O as a little kid and counting out those 4-5-3 cherries and putting them in the bucket or back on the tree. I played it over and over again with my mom and sisters!  Through that simple little game I learned math facts....and there wasn't a flashcard or computer game to be seen!  In my classroom I am continually looking for quick 15-20 min. math games for partners and small groups.  My kids have time for games every day!  If you are skipping this...or saving it only for fun Fridays...well, you are missing out on important opportunities for kids to practice and for math to be F-U-N! Don't feel guilty if the principal walks in and your students are playing games.  They are learning!!!

I also have some EDITABLE (Yay!) Math Task Cards that are for Spring.  It is always hard to match a game to students every year.  We all know how each class is different!...so Editable Cards make it easy for me to switch things up.  These cards are a mix of what my students learn throughout the year in the Common Core.

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