How to teach math facts?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by heavens54, Oct 9, 2010.

  1. heavens54

    heavens54 Connoisseur

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    Oct 9, 2010

    I know that we have talked about this before, but I am not having luck with my students. They are not working with flashcards at home, the parents are not doing their part, and I don't have a system or a program that pushes them to get this done. Any help in this matter would be much appreciated. What do I need to help my students (fourth) master their math facts?

    HELP!!! :help: :help: :help: :help: :help:
     
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  3. macteach

    macteach Rookie

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    Oct 9, 2010

    Math Facts

    My second grade team discovered last year that our kids really don't have the strategies down. So, we started by introducing a particular strategy like count on, give a worksheet on that strategy and move on in 2 days to a new strategy. We also have Rocket Math that we do every day. The other purchase we made this year was the little book of facts from Really Good Stuff. Each student gets a little book to store their flashcards in at school. The book has 0's, 1's, 2's, etc. They seperate the cards accordingly and we drill those everyday. My kids love the little books.
     
  4. Elocin

    Elocin Comrade

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    Oct 9, 2010

    When I was STing in 3rd grade, we set up an incentive. The teacher posted an paper ice cream cone on their locker and every set of facts was worth a topping at the end of year ice cream social. They got a construction paper scoop on top of their cone for every set of facts (a scoop with 0 written on it, a scoop with 1, a scoop with 2....so on). The kids could see how many facts their classmates had mastered, which added a competition aspect and they loved adding a scoop to their locker.

    We still used scheduled supervised bathroom breaks so I used the time standing in the hallway to quiz students on facts....kept them quiet and occupied and also didn't waste much educational time. We encouraged them to quiz each other in the hallway also and gave them each a set of laminated flashcards to practice with each other during indoor recess, etc.

    We started in Feb and by the end of the school year I'd say 90% knew their tables through 12.....

    ETA: We also took about 15 mins 3 times a week in addition to the curriculum's pacing to use base ten blocks to create multiplication facts so the kids could SEE how multiplication worked and weren't just memorizing without understanding.
     
  5. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Oct 9, 2010

    You must practice in the classroom daily. You can do timed tests, buddy practice, morning work, games, even adding one fact a week to your spelling list, etc. If you do calendar, make sure to include facts practice. Always use correct terminology.

    Set specific target dates for skills and inform parents; ie, by November 15, your student should have mastered multiplication by 4's or whatever.

    First, work together in class on the concepts. Use manipulatives in many different forms. The kids need this practice to transfer the knowledge to full mastery of the facts.

    Have weekly tests on certain groups of facts. Inform parents.

    Some activities for teaching multiplication facts:

    use graph paper to illustrate arrays, different colors for different sets of facts, cut out and mount on posters or make into small study books (make sure they can see the difference between 3x4, which is 3 groups of 4, and 4x3, or 4 groups of 3);

    from the previous activity, have kids make own flash cards; cut index cards in half; use colored cards; attach to binder rings;

    have small groups make posters that illustrate what they know about a topic - the meaning of 5 x 8, say, or the commutative property, or whatever you want;

    play games:

    bingo - kids make own boards on white boards, 4x4 board (3 lines horiz and 3 vert), you put list of products on board, kids choose where to place them on their boards, then play bingo with you calling the factors;

    last student standing - put a grid on the board with one product (or quotients, or whatever you are working on ) per box, enough for 1 per student; kids pick their own boxes and initial them; you call a problem and if the kid initialed that answer, he erases his box and he is out; keep going until there is only one student left.

    you call out a problem, kids write answer on individual white boards, you check (if possible) and give out 1 point per correct answer; don't give them time to figure them out - this is to test automatic recall, so should be done after all the concept work is complete.
     
  6. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Oct 9, 2010

    THANK goodness the parents aren't doing their part. Flash cards are to increase fluency once the facts are mastered. They are not to be used to TEACH math facts. They encourage guessing thus creating false links. Some kids will learn this way despite of the method, but those that tend to struggle will be woefully behind until they have consistent methods to ALWAYS produce a correct answer over and over until it is solidified.

    The ones that will learn them easily will learn by any method. You actually hurt the ones that need the help the most by flash cards or any guessing type of activity.

    Strategies to come up with the right answer, skip counting, repetition of facts each day in class (one group at a time), maniuplatives, 100s charts, etc These are the types of things you want parents doing with the kids until they are accurate. Then you can transfer to flash cards.

    I didn't learn this until my own child struggled to learn facts by the flash card method. Well over 1/2 of the kids in my childs grade struggle with the facts and the parents are blamed. It was the method. Once we switched methods, the facts came.
     
  7. shouldbeasleep

    shouldbeasleep Enthusiast

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    Oct 9, 2010

    I've never had a problem with a significant number of kids learning the facts through memorization. They are shown commutative property and understand skip counting and counting on.

    By fifth grade, which I teach, it's the ones who never bothered to memorize them that have trouble. They are still counting on their fingers and using those methods you like. It takes them forever to divide decimals, understand simplifying fractions or equivalent fractions, and deal with variables in equations.

    I have had those few who haven't mastered them stay after school for 30 minutes for a few weeks and I drill them with recitation, flash cards, competitions, Holy Cards, etc. Everyone gets them. If parents did this job, I wouldn't have to. I've got 23 in math class this year, and 4 don't have them. Low socio-economic population with high number of ESOL. Four isn't too bad.
     
  8. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    Oct 9, 2010

    I agree with the using every minute-we actually have a beach ball with some written on it and pass it down the line waiting for the rest room.

    I'm a firm believer in "Math Talks". I do an activity from Kathy Richardson with my kids daily using cards with dots on them arranged in different ways. So there may be 10 dots but they are arranged in groups of 2's. Or a group of 9 with 2 dots, 3 dots, 4 dots. I ask them to look at it and give me thumbs up when they know the answer and then call on them to not only give the answer but verbalize the steps they used to get it (because there are many different ways to get the answer). Some count one by one, some by 2's, now we've gotten to the point where they can say I saw 3 and 3 and knew it was 6. It has made them so much more fluent in the math facts and also in understanding the process of computation.
     
  9. shouldbeasleep

    shouldbeasleep Enthusiast

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    Oct 9, 2010

    Yes. I love those math dots. I would use them in the beginning, too. You need to understand what you are doing when you multiply or add, subtract. By fifth, I'm sorry, you have got to move on. Get it memorized and let's go.
     
  10. heavens54

    heavens54 Connoisseur

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    Oct 9, 2010

    My observation is that they understand the concept of multiplication, they have not memorized the facts. They know that 7 bags of 4 candies would be a product of 28, but they have not learned to do it quickly. On a timed test, they take forever. They are not working on automoticity. This is fourth grade.
     
  11. EMonkey

    EMonkey Connoisseur

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    Oct 10, 2010

    If the children have the concept down start teaching them ways to figure it out quickly such as skip counting or doubling the factors they know equal a number to figure out the larger numbers such as 2x2=4=1x4 or 6x4=24=3x8. Build an understanding of prime numbers. Do minute tests of the multiplication table. Upsadaisy lists a lot of good ways to help the children build their ability.
     

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