I am looking for some research studies on the effectiveness (or not)of Mad Minute. I have not seen great improvement (on memorizing facts) with my second graders. Some get quite fast at individual strategies, but are still not memorizing the facts. Any suggestions or comments would be helpful. Thanks. Kim

When I taught second grade I had my kids do one side of the sheet 30 problems, which I timed for 1 1/2 minutes I think? The students' goal was to get one more correct each day than they did the day before. I always copied the pages 2 sided so they could take the back home for practice. I've found that most of my kids improved slowly. I taught them many different strategies. If you have to stop and think, skip it. If they were going for speed, they were allowed to x it out on a Mad Minute, only! (erasing took too long!) I used the actual Mad Minute brand book. I even let the kids go top to bottom from the left column to the right column. For my right handed kids, I let them go right to left to show them that their brains could look at their next problem while their hand was writing the numbers. Lefties loved this because they could already do this! (It's been a while-but I have done similar things with the other grade levels I have taught.)

My son did Mad Minutes in 1st grade and got really fast and was very proud of his progress. I also liked it since it was a way to differentiate for him since he was above level. Just my 2 cents! Funny you should post this since I just moved to third and am sitting here reading through the Mastering Math Facts (rocket math) binder...

This was a huge topic of conversation in grades 1-2 last school year! We recently switched administrations and there was a TON of miscommunication about whether to give timed math fact tests and if we should grade them, use them to have the kids "challenge" themselves to see how many more facts they could complete, or use them as an incentive tool. Grade 1 was told, by P and VP, that they were to give timed math fact tests and to grade them. Needless to say, this caused many students' grades to plummet in math. Second grade was told to give timed fact tests, but to use them as an incentive...!!! So when Grades 1&2 met as a group with P and VP, all 6 of us asked administration to explain their reasoning on the timed tests and to implement a solid plan for the next school year regarding timed tests. Our P, who is new to being P, gave a very vague explanation of what she wanted us to do. I think I am attentive but I am positive that I will need explanation and clarification before we start the next school year!!! The children really do need to learn those facts... One of the choices at Math Centers are to drill flash cards with partners. Another choice at Math Centers are to play "fact monster" computer game. We play a fact game on the SmartBoard every morning as a part of Calendar Math. And we gave the timed minute tests per administration! But some of those kids are still staring up at the ceiling when you drill them on 7-4!! Any additional strategies to help my second graders memorize those facts would be appreciated!! =)

We are told, point blank, not to use timed tests. And then they wonder why students are still counting on their fingers in upper grades. We give them a zillion strategies, but never make them practice. I do give timed math fact tests -- but I don't count the grades. Each student has an individual chart, and we graph their improvement (or lack thereof.) I give prizes for improvement. The kids really enjoy it.

There are several websites that have timed practice tests, for students who have access to internet at home. They like to practice this way. As for the test themselves, for 2nd graders I have only used them as a grade at the end of the third and fourth quarters and in this manner: our tests have 7 rows of 7 problems, so 49 for + and 49 for -, so I use the timed test with the highest the number correct (in 3 minutes) for that quarter, add 2 points (to make it worth 100 points), and that is their score. For those who have already hit "mastery" level (49 correct on 2 occasions for each +/-; no longer take the tests), they get an automatic 100. Those who have a great math grade already but don't know their facts can have their grade impacted. I really stress that in 3rd grade you will learn multiplication and division and you really have to KNOW these facts automatically so you aren't working on both sets of flashcards....my grade 2 team felt that this was fair since it was later in the year.

I use it and have seen lots of improvement. THey are competing with themselves, not others in the class. I give 30 probs in 3 min. They have to get all 30 right 3 times in order to move to next level. I start with 1. + sums less than 10, 2. -minuend less than 10, 3. + sums greater than 10, 4. - minuend greater than 10, 5. mixed +, 6. mixed -. When they get through all of those, they start over and have 2 minutes. They actually really enjoy the challenge.

When I was in third grade my teacher gave times math facts tests. I can still remember being so proud of myself when I did well. I can also remember practicing my facts a lot at home. I don't think I would have done that without the timed tests. With that said, I am starting it this year in my 1st grade class. It won't be a test, just an activity. But I feel if I can get them to memorize their facts in first they will be much better off as they go on.

I have the freedom and flexibility in my classroom to pick and choose resources that work for me and my kids in my classroom. I do use Mad Minutes as a way to encourage and assess 'fluency' in addition and subtraction. My kids tend to be accurate for the most part but it's the 'speed factor' that some need to work on- basically because life is NOT a series of single digit math problems- if it's going to take all day to solve just the ones column, you are never going to get to the hundreds' place I also see timed drills as a way to get my kiddos used to 'testing under timed conditions'...standardized tests are looming on the horizon in third grade so they might as well get used to living with the 'clock' (we're actually starting a computer-based standardized assessment for 2nd grade this year)

Well said, czacza. I feel that these basic facts are just the stepping stones to much harder math, and if they are relying on fingers, etc. they are going to struggle with the more difficult math.

I forgot to say that my son's teacher did it twice a day and he loved it. She would have the class clap (1st grade) when someone passed and he would come home and put it on the fridge. She also gave them a pin when they passed a whole grade level which he wore proudly all weekend!

Thanks for all the input! I definitely think second graders need to master their addition and subtraction facts before they head to third grade where they will then be given the additional task of mastering multiplication facts. As I continued my websearch on the topic, I found a program called Fastt Math that was research based. Anyone ever use it?

Never heard of that one but in case you are looking at others in 3rd grade we use Otter Creek Mastering Math Facts (rocket math).

I believe we have a computer program called Fast Math...which kind of goes against our districts belief in developing number sense...but whatever! I believe the 2nd graders use it in the computer lab. I don't really know.

We did timed math tests. I didn't take them for a grade and they corrected them. They enjoyed seeing how much faster they got and move to a next level.