Friday, June 29, 2012

Math Fact Fluency In My Classroom {Incentive Freebie}

Since posting my math contracts for addition and subtraction facts, I'd gotten a lot of blog comments and questions sent to me through TpT about my fact fluency routine and how I use the contracts in my classroom, so today I'm answering those questions for y'all. :)

I teach in a district that has used Investigations for many years, in fact we are still using one of the very first editions in our rooms today.  When I first started teaching in the district, as a student teacher, seven years ago, there was not a lot of focus on mastering math facts at all.  Everything was inquiry based and focused mainly on problem solving.  Which isn't necessarily bad, expect when you're trying to teach higher level concepts that really require a solid foundation of fact knowledge.  We got a new math curriculum specialist in our district who implemented a math fact fluency program a few years ago, and then tons of focus was put on math facts.  I felt sometimes, I was teaching math facts more than my math curriculum.  Through trial and error, a more balanced math fact diet is now occurring in my classroom.  

I spend probably about ten to fifteen minutes a day on math facts.  Some days, we play a review game during morning meeting involving our math facts.  Some days,  one of our brain breaks is quiz/quiz trade with flashcards. Below is a You Tube video of quiz, quiz trade in action. This is not my classroom, fyi. :)

Basically with Quiz, Quiz Trade, every student in the room gets a flashcard.  I set the timer, and they start pairing up.  Student A shows Student B their flashcard.  Student B answers and Student A lets them know if they are correct, or incorrect.  Correct answers get a simple praise, incorrect answers they might prompt them on a strategy to use to get the answer.  Then Student B shows Student A their card and Student A answers.  Once Student A and Student B have correctly answered each others flashcards, they switch cards and find new partners.  This process of quizzing and trading continues until the timer goes off. I love Quiz, Quiz Trade because it gets the kiddos moving, it encourages cooperation, and exposes each student to a wide variety of facts quickly.  Amy Lemons has some great addition and subtraction flashcards  as well as multiplication and division flashcards that I used in my classroom this year. 

At the end of math, we spent about five minutes working on fluency packets for either addition or subtraction, I taught second grade last year, but I wasn't super crazy about them.  I felt they wasted a lot of paper and it was hard to manage as a teacher, as I was the one checking them.  This upcoming year, my fourth grade team and I will be spending about ten minutes a day on Rocket Math.  They love it, but honestly I don't know much about it other than the apps look like a lot of fun. I hope to share more about this later in the school year. :) 

I also try to incorporate math fact practice in my centers as much as I can.  There are so many great ways to do this.  One of my favorite ways to do that is with spinner games!  I LOVE spinner games because they are so easy to prep.  All your kiddos need is the board, a pencil, paper clip, counters, and a recording sheet. :) Easy breezy, nice and easy. :) 

In fact in my classroom, I have my kiddos put the spinners in clear sleeves and use their dry erase markers to play.  This way they can play without getting out markers/counters when they finish work early.   

Not only do I love spinner games for centers, math rotations, and early finisher work, I also love them for parent helpers.  I just jot down the boards I'd like for them to work on with each student. This works out perfectly, because they get to work with kiddos and I don't have to spend lots of time prepping for their visit.  

I have two spinner games available in my store right now, and I hope to add subtraction and division before the summer ends. 

There are lots of websites too that you can use to for workstation rotations with your class as well.  My favorites are Fun4theBrain and  Arcademic Skill Builders. It is my understanding that these websites have Apps as well for Apple and Android products.  I have heard really great things about XtraMath but I have not used it in my classroom.  My district has a subscription to FasttMath, and I'll usually let kids on that as well to practice their facts.  Although the appealing thing about XtraMath is that they can practice at home too! :) 

Obviously my math contract homework encourages math fact practice at home.  I send the contract home on Tuesdays and they are due the following Tuesday, so my kiddos have a week to complete the three activities.  Even though I have math fact homework routine, sometimes it's nice for my students to practice their facts even more than that, especially those pesky multiplication and division facts!
When I taught third grade, I'd have my kiddos fill out raffle tickets when they practiced their facts at home, after they had completed their math contract homework for the week. I'd try to pull raffle tickets each day to pick from the Treasure Box, but that got costly and I didn't always remember to pick kiddos.  While I liked the concept of rewarding extra practice, the system was easy for me to manage and it only excited a handful of kids.  I just uploaded a freebie to TpT that I hope gets my whole class excited about mon "star" ing their math facts. :) 

Anytime a kiddo gets extra math fact practice, in addition to weekly homework for me but you can make the rules in your own room, they will fill out a link and bring it into school.  We will hook our links together and once we reach our goal length, the class gets a treat.  I plan to start off with a small length a first, and earn a special snack during math, and then work to a big length, like around the room for a pizza party/ice cream/etc.  I hope these incentive links gets all of us excited to practice our math facts, rather than just a group of kiddos, because they will really need everyone to participate to earn their treats!

All the products in this posts are linked to my TpT store and the incentive chain links are FREE. :) If you like them, don't forget to leave me a little note either here or on TpT.   Since it's so hot, hot, hot, I'm throwing a little beat the heat sale today and tomorrow. :)


  1. Your product for math looks so cute! I like the idea of quiz, quiz, trade & would like to try that more in my classroom. Thanks for sharing!
    Learning Is Something to Treasure

  2. Thank you. I'm all about the monsters!

  3. You are amazing! Thanks for all the wonderful ideas and resources!!!! :-) Hope you're having a wonderful summer so far!!!!

  4. Here's another free math site that my 2nd graders love. . . it's called You can put their names in and get them a free account so that they can play all year long.
    Second In Line

  5. LOVE your post about math games. I'm always on the lookout for new ones and I have jotted down a few notes for Quiz-Quiz-Trade to try it out this fall. Thank you! I'm giving you the One Lovely Blog award :) Head on over to my blog to learn more.
    Stories by Storie

  6. Hey Lisa! Couldn't agree with you more... Also, check out OSWEGO. My kids come in the morning, complete morning work, and hop on to study. Real easy and nothing for me to do! It even prints certificates! (I keep track on a chart who is on what fact) Try it out!

    Always A Lesson

  7. Hi! Love quiz, quiz, trade. Great idea! How do you assess for math facts?

    Tales From a Traveling Teacher

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