STOP IT! JUST STOP IT! If you want to bore kids out of their minds and keep them from wanting to learn their addition facts, give them a box of flash cards and say, “Here, practice these.”
- Kids are overwhelmed with the whole stack.
- Kids are bored and most likely off task shortly after you have given them the stack of cards.
- They have no way to help make connections with the patterns if the cards are disorganized.
For these reasons and probably a few more, using flashcards cause little impact upon learning.
Have students sort their cards by helping strategy. For example, have students pull out all of the doubles facts and stack them. Then have them pull out all of the doubles + 1 facts and stack them. Haves students layer the cards so that the doubles sit on top of the doubles + 1 facts. That way they look at one that is familiar and then progress to one that isn’t as familiar. For example, place 5 + 5 on top of 5 + 6. If 5+5=10, 5+6 must be one more–11.
The easy doubles facts helps students know that the doubles +1 facts are just one more in their answer. Not only this, but you are teaching properties of operations when students layer their flashcards. Furthermore, layering the cards by helping strategy helps them make a matching game of sorts out of their flashcards.
You can also layer sums of ten on top of sums of ten + 1 for the same effect etc. Always have students layer their math fact cards to help them learn patterns. When they learn facts with patterns, they have something to “hang” or attach their learning to which produces a higher impact than handing them the whole box.
For a printable version of these flashcards complete with printable backs, you can go here.
All sums to 19 are included. These cards ARE separated by helping strategy complete with teacher notes so that you can print them in color and arrange them more easily by their helping strategy.
I have worked with children from 2nd grade on up to help them learn their addition facts. One common denominator exists among all of these students. That is THEY DON”T SEE PATTERNS! I remember having a difficult time learning my 9’s facts when I was growing up. To help myself, I just took one off of the number I was adding to 9 in the ones place. I noticed this pattern. No one taught me this. When I was growing up, learning facts was like, “Ok, Class, let’s learn all our 8s facts, let’s learn all our 6s facts and so on.” This is not effective for students who don’t recognize patterns on their own. Now with the common core mathematical practices, we should be teaching children to explore patterns through thoughtful placement of number facts to help them recognize these patterns. Giving students opportunities to see the patterns will result in more students who are fluent in their facts. I have shown examples of this before such as in this post about using 10s to help with adding 9s.
But now I have actually put all of my work with struggling learners into a packet which could be used whole group for grades 1 or 2. At the 3-5 level this could be used for students in intervention or as part of the RTI process. Here is a look at the packet that I have put together to help students become fluent with all of their addition math facts. It is on TPT !
You can also try out a little sample of this product for FREE here.
Are you teaching your firsties to add ten, subtract ten, add 1 and subtract 1? The week before Christmas we added this game to one of the selections in the students’ math stations. This game is called “Bubble Gum Pop”. The kids absolutely LOVE it!!!
Students move “bubble gum balls” (bingo chips) up and down the 100’s chart mat according to the spinner. The game is differentiated for students who need more of a challenge so that they can use a mat that counts to numbers past 100 or they can use a bubble gum spinner that allows them to even add or subtract multiples of up to 20.
In this photo above, students are tied with both having an equal number of chips on the board. The one who knocks the other student’s chips off the board first is the winner. What makes this game fun is that there is an element of chance when students land on the pictures, their chips are out. Also, the game requires children to know which direction to move on the board to add or subtract 10s and 1’s so they are learning at the same time.
The game is also available in color. I copied it in second grade however on colored paper, but ended up liking the black and white better because I felt the students could see the chips and numbers better on the board. The color definitely did make the game happier though.
I have been missing in action from my blog lately. Hopefully this will make it up to all of you faithful followers 🙂 ! I have been working on this packet of addition fact lessons that I used with intervention groups all last year with much success. The lower students really seemed to enjoy the thinking aspect of these lessons. I have been working on putting this into a format that is cute enough to post. Because I have been working on the whole packet for months, I thought I would give you a free preview sample in the meantime. I will be posting the whole packet soon for sale. Without further adieu, here is the Freebie! I hope you enjoy using it!
Thanks to Winchester Lambourne for the spooky eyes clip art!
I am going to share with you what I did this year to be successful in helping our school be more fluent in math facts than ever before! We have had Reflex Math for about 2 and a half years now. The first year everyone didn’t know much about what to expect. The second year some classes were making progress with it. Now this year being in a new school with new people (we consolidated with another school), we had a slow start but by the end students’ fluency took off. Albeit some of the increase has been due to the increase of available technology and the new Reflex Math app on the iPad, but students this year were more motivated to achieve than ever before. I believe that is due to a few things I added to encourage friendly competition!
1. I added the 70% and up club. What child doesn’t want to be a part of a club?! When children reach the 70% mark, I post their certificate on the wall with their pictures in a central location. I try to take their pictures close to window light so they look nice. If students’ certificates are up too long without their picture they make sure they let me know about this. I print the certificates off weekly. These are available to easily print off from the home dashboard screen underneath the unprinted milestones link. I also have these students names called on the announcements with “Welcome to the 70% and up club…” and then I have their names called out.
2. To encourage students along the way to reach the 70% and up club, I send home their certificates if they are below 70%. Students get certificates for answering facts and they get certificates for answering a certain amount of facts. One of these certificates may say something like Joe Bob solved 2,000 facts. If the certificate is one that is fluency related then I attach a little prize such as a pencil or fake tattoo. These certificates may say something such as Mary Sue learned 25 new fluent facts. All certificates that are 70% and up go on the wall. I replace the 70% with an 80% or 90% certificate so that others walking by can see their achievement.
3. I have a special place to hang students who achieved 100% fluency during the year. These students have their picture retaken again for this spot on the wall. Also, I had a special ceremony for these students at the end of the year in which I invited the principal and guidance counselor to shake the students’ hands and pin them with a special pin I ordered from Jones Awards. I had wanted to order them all trophies, but I didn’t think I would be able to afford enough trophies with the school budget for those kids who had achieved 100%. I also have the 100% fluent students’ names called out on the announcements when they achieve fluency.
4. Each quarter I have parties for all the students who achieved at least 70% fluency. Once students achieve 100% fluency, they are able to go to all parties for each quarter. Most students who achieve 70% fluency go ahead and work towards the 100% fluency spot on the wall even though there isn’t much more reward to achieve 100%.
5. In addition, I have parties for a class winner in 1st-2nd grade and a class winner in 3rd-5th grade. I didn’t do a party for the 1st quarter. In the 2nd quarter we did a hot chocolate party with toppings, in the 3rd quarter we did an Easter egg hunt, and in the 4th quarter we did a water play party outside with sprinklers and water squirters. The kids anticipate these parties with great excitement!
6. Within each grade level I hand out 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place ribbons for the highest percentages of fluency achievement. These students pictures are also displayed in a central location for everyone to see. Some students are very competitive about this.
Because of all of these things, more students achieved 100% fluency than ever before. The excitement built around the achievement of math fact fluency built a positive momentum with the children for something to earn. When parents visit the building, they can often be found near the wall looking at all of the children’s pictures on display.
Some teachers became very competitive about their classes beating another class. These teachers built a competition within their own class. Towards the end of school, some teachers were sneaking their children who were still below 70% to the computer lab just so they could reach 70% fluency to attend the party outside. (I know the paper colors don’t exactly match, but I was just working with what I had :/. I will make it look better next year :))
I hope this sparks some ideas within your own building!
After you sit a while with a child who is obviously trying to figure something out and having little success, you try other strategies. I was sitting with a sweet little 3rd grader who has had a difficult life. She has eyes full of hope, and I know her eyes well because last year that is all I knew…she had to wear a face mask all year. A liver transplant had required her to wear a mask to prevent infections. She is such a hard worker and that makes me really want to do so much for her.
Ok, so back to the math strategies! When I would work with this child, she would have a hard time keeping track of which number to put in her head and which number to count on her fingers. She would forget when to stop counting on her fingers. This was a lot for her to manage. Finally, I thought about having her draw to represent her head and fingers so she could keep track of it. I know this doesn’t look like rocket science and there is probably already something similar out there, but this worked for her (and me). I told her that she was to look at the two numbers in the column and choose the larger one. Then I asked her to circle that number. I told her the circle represents the number that you keep in your head. After that, I instructed her to draw dots beside the smaller number to be pictures of her fingertips that she would count up on. She did this successfully and remembered this the next day. This will even work with more digits. Next week I plan on trying a similar strategy for subtraction. I hope maybe this can help some of your SPED kids out there who you just aren’t sure what to do with :).
After using doubles and tens facts to learn one more and two more than all of those sums, that only leaves students with two facts to learn!!!
I allow students to tell me ways that these two facts can be easy to learn for them. Most students say that 3+6 is 9 so it is close to a ten fact. Some may be more comfortable with 3 +5, but after spending time talking about patterns with students, they will easily be able to discuss a way to get to this fact using a known fact. The thing that is uncomfortable about using 6+4 is that students have to go backwards and it is uncomfortable for them to go backwards in counting. Students favor going forward…cause more is better (like the commercial! :)) Also, 8+5 to me is an oddball. I can think of no easy way to get to this fact, but most students will say that 8 + 5 is close to 8+4 which is 12 so they know that 8+5 makes 13. Other students will say they know 8+2 is 10 so they can count up 3 more. I really don’t like that they have to count up 3 more, but at least it is better than counting up 5 from eight.
I will have to say that after working with intervention groups with all of these fact strategies, their answers aren’t as immediate as I would like, and at times they still use their fingers. I believe they still use their fingers because it is comfortable to them—more comfortable than thinking. After a strategy is learned it is imperative that they still practice with flash cards so that the facts remain fresh in their minds. I don’t work with a student population that readily has parents practicing with them at home on flashcards so the only extra practice they get is with me.
I plan on posting some of the materials I used to practice facts with the kids soon.
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If you have been following the previous posts, then you will see the progression of teaching number facts strategies. Nearly the last part of teaching addition facts focuses around doubles and doubles plus 2. I think this is one of the hardest strategies because kids may not readily see the double when it is two numbers away. With a little thinking and prodding, however, they will see the fact without using their fingers. Line the numbers up side by side so that students can see examples of both sets of numbers–the helping fact and the double plus 2.
Again, when having students recognize patterns and see relationships, I like to write them out of order so that students don’t say that the numbers are counting by 2’s etc. If students struggle to see the patterns, underline numbers to help them focus on what you want them to see such as underlining the second addends on both sets of equations. Then underline the sums on both sets of equations. Step back for a few moments and let the prolonged silence aid students in thinking about the relationships in the two sets of numbers. Give students time enough to generalize about how doubles can be a helping fact. * Note that students have already learned sums of 10 and 10s plus 2 more so they have strategies for 5+7, 4+6, and 6+8.
After this, students only have a few more facts to learn!!
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Thank you Erin Cobb! Frames Courtesy of Lovin Lit.
(Thank you Erin Cobb from Lovin’ Lit for the pretty border!)
Now after I have taught everything that I previously blogged about in Parts 1, 2, 3, and 4, which includes tens and tens plus one. Learning the sums/bonds of 10 is the foundation for this discussion. One of the tens plus 2 will already have been learned because it is a double, but there is no harm in learning multiple strategies to reach one fact. Also, doubles plus two facts will be learned later and doubles plus two will also give students a strategy to reach 7+5=12 and 5+7=12. Allow students to recognize this on their own when you reach that lesson. The more ownership students can have of the strategies without you telling it to them, the more they will remember the strategies and feel smarter for being able to discuss the strategies.
Again when you introduce these facts write them out of order on the board. Step back, wait, have children quietly look at the number facts and find relationships or patterns in their head. I use the Number Talks strategy and have them put their thumb on their chest when they find a pattern. This keeps everyone attentively looking for more patterns without the dramatic hand raisers flailing their arms in the air. If students say that they see lots of tens and twelves acknowledge this and then ask students to look for more. Eventually you will get what you are looking for if you have the foundation built from the previous lessons. If no students say that one of the addends goes up by 2 and the sum goes up by two, offer a hint by underlining these numbers so that they are focusing their attention there. Follow this up by fact (flashcards if you prefer) practice over the sums they have just discovered a strategy for and over previously learned facts.
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So far if you have followed my previous posts, students will have learned their bonds of 10, their +1, +2, +9, +10, and adding one more to their bonds of 10 facts. Next, I like to focus my students’ attention on learning their doubles. Most of the time students are already comfortable with their doubles up to 5+5 since they easily see these doubles on their fingers, on dice, and in other real world examples. At least when working with my intervention groups, this is the case. The doubles kids most often struggle with are 7+7, 8+8, and 9+9. When writing the doubles on the board, kids can easily see that the sums of double numbers turn out to be even numbers or the numbers that count by 2’s.
I also like to use videos and games to help kids remember their doubles. Here is one of the videos that I like to use.
This is only a preview of the video. The other part used to be free but is no longer free. The video costs $2.49 to download the 6-10 doubles, but is worth the purchase in my opinion.
After kids have learned their doubles, show them these doubles plus one more. Don’t tell them that they are doubles plus one more, but let them see the pattern and tell you about them.
Allow the kids to notice the pattern in the doubles and doubles plus one and express to you how the numbers change when one is added. Kids will excitedly see the relationship between the double and how it goes up by one more. After discussing the patterns from the previous posts, students will more readily see this pattern and relationship. Then when using flashcards to follow up, students will sometimes think out loud about their strategy, and you will hear them thinking about the relationships they see to get to a new sum. When you hear this you know you have taught them well!
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