Every teacher I have ever worked with from 2nd grade through 6th grade has said to me at some point - “Math is so much easier when they know their facts”. I spend a lot of time making sure my students understand what 2 + 4 and 2 x 4 mean, but when we get into long division, doubling, fractions, and measurement, students really just need to have these basic facts memorized. So, how do I teach fast facts? Well, we do a variety of games and tiling puzzles, but mainly I ask the kids to practice each night using: apps like Flash to Pass, websites like Mathmagician, or plain old flash cards. Then, we take 1 minute fact quizzes every single day. I have 8 levels of quizzes, (click on any level to download from my TPT store).
I have all of these levels because I teach 4 grade levels of math. However, when I taught just 3rd grade and just 1st grade, I generally had 3 or 4 different levels in my classroom. Each student starts at a base for their grade level (addition for 2nd and 3rd grade, multiplication for 4th and 5th grade) and works their way up until they run out of levels. As students master quizzes, they color in various shapes and hang it on our door, building a class pictogram.
Since I have my students for more than one year, the ones that stay with me pick up at the beginning of one year wherever they left off the previous year.
I have two 5th grade students right now who are working on order of operation quizzes, which means they have really mastered their facts and are now taking it a step further. These two students have a much easier time with other pieces of math than the students who are still working on multiplication facts, because they don’t have to stop in the middle of a long division problem, or a reducing fractions problem and figure out the multiplication or division piece.
How do you work on math facts? Do you think they are an important piece of the puzzle when students are learning math?