Monday, September 11, 2017

Addition Strategies for Fact Fluency

At the beginning of each school year in math, one of the first skills I focus on is teaching my students a variety of strategies to teach fact fluency for recalling basic facts up to 20 with automaticity.  I try to put as many tools in their toolbox as I can to help them feel more confident and to differentiate instruction.  We focus on Touch Math, making 10, doubles, doubles +1, counting on, and related facts.
Research shows that long-term success in math is closely tied to having strong number sense.  This includes having fluency with basic facts.  Math only gets more complicated the further along the children go, and expending mental energy counting to solve addition and subtraction facts is a waste of their time.

Automaticity does not happen overnight, and it shouldn't simply be a memorization of facts. It is usually acquired in a certain order.
  • First, children begin by understanding that numbers represent quantities.  They typically learn about this in pre-k and kinder.  
  • Second, they can begin using procedures to figure out facts.  They develop ways to remember facts through strategies. (This is where we began this week). 
  • Third, children can achieve recalling facts with automaticity.
One strategy we focused on this week was doubles facts.  We watched a Doubles Rap you can see by clicking below: 
I love this video, but I wish the quality were better and that it had the lyrics and facts captioned on-screen.  It would be more effective that way, but, beggars can't be choosers, right?! 

However, Flocabulary has an AWESOME video about doubles!  Do you guys know about Flocabulary?  Think Ron Clark meets YouTube.  All the awesome songs about every content area, but in an animated form with subtitles.  My kids LOVE it!  (And I do, too!) . My district pays for our subscription, but they have a free trial if you want to check it out!

We used a couple of things from Amy Lemons' packet called Learning Our Addition Strategies. 

This has a copy of the lyrics to the Doubles Baby rap.  I made a copy of for each student to glue into his or her math journal.  Then, we made the Double's Dude craftivity to reinforce that strategy.  They are super cute AND give the kids a visual reminder of the doubles strategy.  

We also focused on counting on.  We glued in the little poster from Amy Lemons' product, and then played several games to practice this strategy.  (See games pictured below).

The counting on strategy teaches the children to begin by counting with the largest number and then add the smaller number on to it.  This seems obvious, but children often add numbers in the order in which they appear instead of determining the fastest way to get to the sum.  (This strategy will also come in handy when we start adding more than 2 numbers at once).  
To practice counting on, we played a fun partner game called "Walk the Plank."  The kids love this game.  I play it every year. 
The students have a "plank," playing pieces, and dice.  I use 10-sided dice so they can add numbers all the way through 20.   They roll the dice, add the two numbers together, and then remove their opponents playing piece that is next to that number.  
You can click here to see how to play the game.  Click here to get Walk the Plank for YOUR classroom.  

We also played a game of Fast Fact Scoot! created by Schroeder Shenanigans in 2nd.

Automaticity is usually achieved in small increments.  We focus on one or two sets of facts, and then we build upon those.  Then, once those are maintained, we build with another set of facts. 

I hope your school year is off to a great start and that you can incorporate some of these activities and strategies into your math instruction!

Make each moment a teachable one!

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Student Birthdays!

Welcome back to school, y'all!  Have you gone back yet?  My district started on the 22nd this year.  This is a big year for me because I finally get to take my OWN babies with me to school!  We are starting Kindergarten, y'all!  
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If you are like me, or any other teacher at this moment in the year, you have a running list of about 1,000 items you wanted to get done before school started!  

Well, I don't know about you, but one of the first things that I always do before the year begins is get my students' birthday gifts ready.  It may seem like jumping the gun, but birthdays have always been a really important day in my family, so I try to make sure I am prepared to make each child's day special!  
How do I do this for 22 children, headache-free?  Here are the five steps of what I do once I finally get that coveted, finalized, class list!

1.       Write down each child's birthday on my calendar and/or planner
·      This helps me make sure that it is on my radar!  If I only have it on my birthday calendar in my classroom, I WILL forget - I just don't look at it.  It's more for the kids. 
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2.      Put them in a list in order by date
·      This helps me see at a glance who we have celebrated and who is coming up.  It also helps me to not leave out the summer birthday kids and kids who have birthdays over holiday breaks.  It's easier to remember the birthdays of kids who have a birthday during the school year when we are in class.  My own twins (Emily and Ben) have summer birthdays, so I am always cognizant of these kiddos!  My Erin Condren planner has a special place for it, but you could do it anywhere! 
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3.      Determine the gift
·      It can be the same thing for each of them, or one thing for boys, and one thing for girls, or you can even do different things for each of them.  I find, it's better to do the same thing at my kids' age because they don't do well when anyone gets something different than they do!  :)

4.      Prepare the gifts BEFORE school begins
·      This is the MOST important step!! If I take the time to get everything ready before the rush of school begins, then I won't have one of those panicky moments or be caught in a bind with no gift!  It's awfully hard to tell a child, "I'm so sorry - your birthday snuck up on me and I don't have anything for you today!"

Also, the maximum number of students I can have is 22, so I always prepare 22. I'd rather have too many prepared than not enough.  It's SUCH a pain to have to have to gather everything up and try to make one gift for a new student when I could've knocked it out at the beginning of the year with all the others.

5.      Put them on display, or in an easily accessible place.
·      If your gifts are cutesy, then use them as part of your classroom decor so the kids can see them and be excited to receive their gifts on their special day.  If you'd rather it be more of a surprise, or don't have room to display them, just make sure that you put them somewhere that is easy to get to, AND a place where you won't forget!
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Here's what I made this year!  
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I made birthday cups filled with candy and made them look like little milkshakes with a cherry on top - because who doesn't like THAT?!  It was really pretty easy and I can't wait to give them to the kids!

I went to my local Starbucks and asked the barista if I could buy some of their plastic cups with the dome lids.  She gave me sort of a strange look, but I told her I am a teacher and use these for my students' birthday gifts.  They were so kind and gave me a set of cups and lids.  Thank you, Starbucks!

· acrylic paint (├╝ber cheap at Wal-Mart and Michaels)
· stickers
· candy (or filling of your choice)
· one-hole punch
· pencils
· something to use as the cherry on top
1. paint each cup
2. place stickers on cup
3. fill cups with goodies
4. punch a hole in each lid
5. put a pencil in each punched hole of the lids
6. put the white crinkle paper in the lid and place on cup 
7. put the “cherry” on top

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