Sunday, February 2, 2014

Making Every Minute Count with Math Facts

If you are like me, you are ALWAYS looking for new ideas for your classroom. So it makes me so excited to be joining in on this blog hop of Bright Ideas for the classroom. Every year I struggle trying to figure out HOW I am going to get my kids to master their math facts. Teaching third, it is really important that they know their facts- for division, fractions, and for 4th grade. And every year, I start off strong with one gimmick idea or another... and a few weeks in, I give up. This year I have found something that works for me. And I have a coworker to thank for this one. I always saw her doing this and decided to modify it to fit my needs.

Every two weeks my students are required to learn and master a set of math facts. And instead of passing out papers and timing them on their facts and collecting and grading more papers... I now test my kids.... at the bathroom! Yep at the bathroom friends. We have to take our class to the bathroom twice a day. And usually we end up having to wait for another class to finish. Talk about the ultimate waste of time! I have my students bring a book to read while we are in line. But that wasn't enough. Now I test them. And it is extremely simple!!

1. Determine which facts the students need to know. Send the list home the Friday before you plan to test.
2. Set up a paper similar to the one pictured here.
Students are tested on five facts a day, every day of the week. At the end of the week, I take the average of their scores (if it is a full week, each problem ends up being worth 4 points) and that is their score for the week.

3. Call students one by one and quiz them verbally on their facts.

Easy as that!

Here are things that I do to make this fit my needs.
1. Because my students are learning these facts for the first time, we do each set of facts two weeks in a row. I take the higher of the two scores.
2. I give students 5 seconds per fact. I know this is a lot. But as soon as we get through all the facts, they will be getting mixed facts and get about 3 seconds per fact.
3. I do not let students count on their fingers.
4. I DO modify for my students that need a little differentiation- I have a couple students who do not have a time limit (they don't know this though... I just don't mark it wrong after 5 seconds like I do for the others).  I also allow these students to count on their fingers.

And that is it. I set up two sets of the test sheets in advance so I am all ready for two weeks of testing. This can be done with ANY math facts... addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division.

For another great idea, hop to Laura's blog at Love to Teach. She is sharing ideas on organizing student writing.


  1. Hi Gina,

    Sounds like a great way to spend what what have been wasted time, you rock! My school has a great math facts program, and I think your idea could fit right along with it.

    Thanks for sharing!,
    Seconds at the Beach

  2. LOVE IT! My kids simply aren't practicing. I hate timed tests, but I have to give them once a quarter. I'm definitely implementing this! Thanks for the tip!

    The Journey of a Beginning Teacher

  3. Great post! I do something similar with sight words, but I like using it with math facts as well!

    Katie :)
    KTP: Keep Teaching and Planning!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...