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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Memorizing Math Facts

I don't know which has been the biggest thorn in my side, figuring out narrations or trying to find an effective way to teach Camille her math facts that actually absorbs in. Flashcards haven't been working, worksheets haven't really helped and take forever, games do help but they take a lot of time. I don't want to spend 30 minutes a day doing math facts, nothing kills the enthusiasm faster so only focusing on math facts isn't a solution for us.

Manipulatives slow things down here too and I can't say Camille really gets much from them. We did use popsicle sticks in 1st grade which helped but if I turned my back from her she would organize the sticks by color or make some sort of pattern with the sticks rather than use them for addition and subtraction. Skip counting is better for us now that we're using Intelli-Tunes Skip Counting songs.

We read children's math literature such as Ben Franklin and the Magic Squares, Sea Sums- here's a list of more titles with the concepts they cover. You can also view it as a HTML page here. It is better to download the pdf file and view it that way, I have this chart in my teacher's book. There are many children's math literature lists on the web, I like this one because it is for K-6 and tells me exactly what grade level and concept the book covers so I'm not blindly checking out books.

Math games are very useful for us but it needs to be outside of our lesson time, done informally just for fun. Playing math games with a time limit negates the joy of playing in our house. Camille would play for hours so putting this in the middle of our lessons creates behavior problems, which I'm all for addressing behavior issues but I don't see the need to create any. That said we are having fun playing with the inflatable dice.

Another thing is there are different teaching approaches for math facts (addition).


or memorizing groups of numbers that make the equation
3, 2, 1
2, 2, 4
1, 1, 2
2, 4, 6

memorizing by math familes


and there are different approaches for memorizing by math families, see Michele's Math which teaches math families but in a specific order.

Drilling with flashcards or worksheets, playing with games, and real-life math (which we do when we can). All of these ways may work for a child but they don't work for every child. This is where a teacher's frustration comes in. We're going to try math fact copywork since copywork has been successful for us, plus with Camille being a visual learner- writing something down helps cement the ideas in her head. The copywork has the child copy math facts within the math families until they are mastered- how simple is that?

I'll post about how it goes, but I am grateful for such an easy, simple solution right now.



Ldee said...

I have had success in memorizing math facts with the following procedure: have the student write out all the +1's up to 10. Then while jumping on a mini-trampoline she recites them while looking at the same facts on a white board. Then I take the white board away and she recites them in order while jumping. She has to remember which one she recited proir. The key is to jump one time to every number, except jump twice for equals. For example, 3+1=4 should be jump (3) jump(+) jump(1) jump jump (equals) jump 4.
After learning this procedure we have learning all our facts quite fast. My older son is using this to cement the mult. facts.
A jump rope would be good if she is profecient in jumping rope.

Welcome to the 'burbs! said...

Seems to me you had a solution but need to be creative with it. She played with the popsicle sticks? they were different colors? create problems that make her build the problem(math fact) you are focusing on. and patterns? with colored sticks you could make math fact patterns...1+1, 1+2, etc. seems that if she liked playing with those sticks you should use that to your advantage ;-)


Petunia said...

Why did it never occur to me to do copywork of math facts? I suppose it was too obvious for me to see. This may help my K/1st grade student.

One thing that has been a huge success for him with math facts is just letting him play with a calculator. He has learned a great deal of multiplication this way.

Linda said...

This is my biggest goal for this year. I never worry about math with Jen, she has a math brain.
I'm always looking for resources to help teach them.
Thanks for sharing,
Blessings and prayers,

Great job on the Library Thing!

Carol said...

Thanks for the copywork math facts idea. This post also reminded me to get out my Quarter Mile computer program for my daughter.

(Nice to meet you, by the way)

Anonymous said...

Jessica- I just want to say thanks for sharing all the research you did into Math facts! This has been on my mind (along with skip counting) for my 2nd grade daughter and your research is very helpful! Thanks again! Blessings, Darcy

Anonymous said...

I'm going through the same thing with my first grade dd. After conversing with dh, we decided to have our first grade (twins) dd and ds write out the addition tables, just like we did as students. I am older than you and I can remember writing all our math tables sometimes, five, ten or even twenty times. But I can tell you it was very effective. My older step-children did not know or understand their math form public school, after have them write them out 20 times each they learned them by heart. And still do. Even if they put all the 1's x down the page.. they still needed to get the answer. I going to start the table this coming week. I wish you and Camille well, this week.
P.S. Do you like the Library Thing??? Or is it a waste of my time? I saw you mentioned it on the WTM forum the other day. I can't thank you for all your info. I have been encouraged and blessed. Now if only I can get as organized as you seem to have it. I truly appreciate all your efforts for those of us who are trying.