Every year when the math coordinators meet, the main concern from grade level to grade level is that the students have not properly mastered their math facts.
In third grade, we try to encourage improvement of math fact speed through our “Look Who’s Poppin’ Facts” math contest. The great thing about this contest is that each child can improve at his own pace.
At the beginning of the contest, the students are given a sheet of 64 addition facts with sums through 18. They are given one minute to complete as many as possible. The result of this first try becomes the child’s base score.
Throughout the quarter, it is our goal for the children to improve their base scores by a total of 15 each. A reward is given each time a child improves by five. For example, if Hailey starts with 18 in a minute as a base, her next goal would be 23. When she reaches 23, she gets a small prize, and the next goal would be 28. If she improves as hoped, by the end she will be able to complete 33 in a minute.
In the past we have encouraged parents to practice math facts with flashcards or use various websites to help. This year I discovered XtraMath. I came across it on Stephanie’s blog, Third Grade Thoughts.
The first thing I love about it is that it’s free. Also, there are great videos to help you get your class started. The flier you can print out from their website makes it easy to let parents know what’s going on. Plus, you can see every time your students log in and practice!
So if you have a child who is not really increasing in speed, you can check and see how much he’s working on the facts. And the best part is that the kids love it—definitely a win-win!
What have you done to help increase your students speed on math facts?