Header with Links to Social Media Sites

Image Map

Smashing Strategies for Guided Math: Fact Fluency

And we’re back… this is the 2nd post in the Smashing Strategies for Guided Math Series in which a group of leading teacher authors have teamed up to bring you creative and practical ideas for your classroom.

We talk a lot about flexibly grouping students in the classroom to keep switching things up, but in reality… is that really feasible? It’s a lot of work but I am here to propose a new idea to you today. Flexible grouping with your math groups, to practice fact fluency. In my classroom, I have developed a system that works smoothly and allows for a break in the normal grouping system every week. Let’s take a look…

Fact fluency is an absolute must at the primary level. Though I completely believe in students learning to use strategies and thinking about numbers flexibly is crucial, there must be some basic memorization in order for students to have a solid foundation. So the solution I came up with for this was creating fact fluency groups based off a quick assessment completed on Fridays.

The assessments are simple, the students are given 20 questions and have to complete them in 2 minutes. They must solve a MINIMUM of 18/20 correctly to move on to the next level (click on the image above to download your free copy).  

Here is our chart for the first three months of the school year… If you click on the image, you can use the editable template available for download from my teachers pay teachers page.
Using the data (students names have been changed for privacy) I split my kids into 5 different groups.

Group 1         Group 2          Group 3        Group 4        Group 5
Dallin            Aidan K          Peyton          Daniel           Hope
Kylee             Laila               Michael        Katie             Cam
Molly            Aidan T.          Joanna          Vanessa         Elijah
Thomas         Savannah                             Kieran
Quinn                                                         Ittai

Once the students were split, I could focus on their needs most directly. I focused on helping students with pneumonic devices, fact fluency songs, tips and tricks for memorizing different facts based off their individual needs.

For example if I was teaching skip counting by 3’s to my advanced group, I would teach them to sing the following numbers to Row, Row, Row Your Boat “3, 6, 9 and 12, 15, 18, 21, 24, 27, 30, 33, last is 36.”

It was quite interesting, that our fact fluency groups did not align very closely with our guided math groups. The ability to memorize is very different than the ability to use strategies or think about mathematical concepts – yet another reason I am a fan of this model, mixing things up is always a good thing!! 😉

While I pulled groups, children would work at centers around the classroom. There were many different games that we play to reinforce fact fluency.

1. Computer Station – The students play math fact fluency games on the following websites (I set them up ahead of time on the computer, so all they have to do is sit down and play. The websites are also bookmarked on the computer and I have taught the students how to go back and find a bookmarked website if they accidentally click off the main page).


2. Go Fish – I leave a sign with a number to create and the kids play Go Fish trying to add up to the number they have been given. For example if the NUMBER TO MAKE was 7 an exchange might look like this:

Number to Make is 7
Molly: Do you have a 3?
Kieran: No, go fish.
(Molly picks up new card)
Kieran: Do you have a 5?
Molly: Yes, here you go.
(Molly hands a 5 card to Kieran)
Kieran: I had a 2 and now I got a 5 and I know 2 + 5 = 7.
(Kieran lays down 2 and 5 card next to each other and would then record 2 + 5 = 7 on his individual white board)

3. Roll and Record – Students are given dice and a recording sheet. They roll two dice and add the two numbers together and record on an individual whiteboard or  recording sheet. After ten rolls each, students add the total number up and whoever has the greatest sum wins.

4. Hopscotch – Tape out a hopscotch board on the floor, students roll the dice and hop as many spaces as the number that has been rolled. They roll the dice again and jump that many more spaces. The partner records the addition equations on an individual whiteboard.

5. Shooting Marbles – If you have students that are working on their subtractions facts, tape a large circle on the floor and a line of tape two feet away. Then have the students place marbles in the center of the tape and record the number on an individual white board. Then have students sit behind the line and roll a single marble toward the circle. Have students count the number of marbles that were knocked out of the circle, then have them create a subtraction equation. 

Student places twenty marbles in circle. Student sits on the line and shoots one marble at the circle. Six marbles roll outside the circle. Student writes the following equation on the individual white board: 20-6=14.  

Be sure to check out other Smashing Strategies for Guided Math from these other bloggers!!!

An InLinkz Link-up

There are hundreds of other great games for teaching fact fluency… what are some that you use in your classroom? Let us know in the comment section below!

Northeastern Regional TpT Meet Up #TpTFlock17

Oh my goodness, how is it already April 17th??? The weekend of April 8th I had the joy of attending the Northeastern Regional TpT Meet Up in Rochester, New York at the beautiful Woodcliffe Resort. This was the second time I attended and was no less blown away. The amount of effort and energy that went into cultivating the perfect environment for motivation and inspiration was incredible. Each detail, from the delicious breakfast, to the creative decor, not to mention the incredibly skilled speakers, was done with excellence. 

The keynote speaker, Art with Jenny K, was breath-taking. Kindness and creativity oozed out of her, for lack of a better description! She spoke about her journey on TpT, but never once did she make it about the money. It was about how honored she felt to be contributing to the education of students around the world. 

She spoke about how each time she sold a product, she viewed it as investing in the lives of 30 different students. I thought that was a wonderful way of thinking about it. Creating materials for my own students is definitely exciting to me, but having the opportunity to participate in something worldwide is humbling. 

She also gave us each a piece of paper with a design on it and colored markers and crayons. We were given a key as to which colors to use on the paper... again, her creativity is astounding (more details on why later...)

My first break out session was a Tax Seminar, which really isn't really my domain but interesting to listen to. My husband is our tax guy, so he sent me in with a bunch of questions. It is mind boggling to me how much extra income TpT provides for so many educators! So cool!

Next I had the privilege of listening to Tabitha Carro from FlapJack Educational Resources. She did a lecture on Smartphone Marketing last year and I learned a TON from her. Once again, she did not disappoint. She taught us how to do pinterest marketing using a smartphone. My takeaways were both exciting and overwhelming... I am actually going to go get a new smartphone this week so I can have enough data to hold all the apps she recommended. 

It's so interesting, I love pinterest, and use it mostly for personal things... I.E. millions of recipes and crafts for my daughter. However, I never really noticed that the most popular and attractive pin covers are vertical and sized 9 x 16. Tabitha showed us apps that easily size and allow for designing collages such as Adobe Spark Post. It's WILD... It takes completely artistically incompetent people, such as myself, and allows them to create something that looks like this on the first try! 

She also recommended a bunch of other apps like Word Swag, Phonto, InShot, Canco, PicCollage, and PicLab Studio. Incredible! Thank you, Tabitha!! 

The next session was perfectly timed... right after Tabitha's smartphone pinterest marketing, I attended Jamie Sears from Not So WimpyTeacher: Keys to Pinning Success. She has an outstanding amount of knowledge about pinterest and how it works. Basically I learned that everything I have been doing is wrong, haha! 

My new goals for Pinterest:
- Create new pinterest covers for my blog posts and create a separate board for my posts
- Create new pinterest covers for my products
- Reorganize my boards to have 40-50 total (by creating secret boards and repinning so as not to lose the work I have already done)
- Look into using Tailwind
- Do some more research on advertising on pinterest since it only charges per click, as opposed to per view on Facebook

Lots of work to do, but I am hopeful it will be worth it!!! 

The last break out session I attended was with the FAMOUS ERICA BOHRER. She is also very knowledgeable and has been with TpT since the very beginning. I have a lot of respect for her because she is killing it on TpT but she's still in her classroom and that's her first priority. 

My big takeaways from this session were to first, clean up my crumby instagram photos and second, and more importantly, find a group of people that can post for each other. She gave us this great organizer to get started so I am hopeful to execute this by the beginning of May! Oh, and I am looking for teachers that would like to use my products in their classrooms and send me pictures that I can post. I love being a stay at home mom, but it does put me at a disadvantage for posting photos! Any takers?!? You can have the products for free! ;) 

We concluded the day by hearing from TpT staff and Amy, the director of seller happiness (which she truly is). She talked about how TpT is an ecosystem, we all need to do our part for it to thrive. Then Jenny K. came up and showed us how all of our tiny pieces of paper we colored came together to make a beautiful poster. 

Overall, the TpTFlock17 conference was a great experience and I can not wait for next year! Thank you so much to all of the hardworking crew that tirelessly worked to make the day perfect for us all.