Sunday, December 2, 2012

Triangle Fact Cards and Technology: Learning Math Facts With a Twist

While I would love to say I created this concept, I have not (but I can't remember where it came from!).  However, this year, they are really emphasizing students learn their math facts and have them "fluent" (as I tell my students, it's like sight words - you look at it and just KNOW).'re probably saying.  Our school does that already - why does her school seem so far behind?  Well (sigh), it all stems from the fact that my district has whole-heartedly embraced Investigations.  Don't get me wrong - the program has its merits, but according to the program, "fluency" is where students are fluent with strategies to get to the right answer.  Yes, I do agree that students should be presented with a variety of ways to solve a problem.  I still get flashbacks of long division and third grade!  I never liked the "my way or the highway" way of thinking.

Only, it doesn't help the students learn their facts so that their able to recall them quickly.  Yes, repetition and playing games does,  but there's something to be said for good ol' fashioned practice!  My poor son is struggling with middle school math because although he has the strategies, he does not have the fluency!  We often have a multiplication chart sitting next to us during homework!

So, after introducing my students to related facts, we began using triangle fact cards.

I wanted to make this fun for my kiddos.  They really do struggle with math.  So, I searched my clipart and gave them choices.  We now have versions with Xmen, Star Wars, zoo animals, penguins, community helpers (firemen, police, etc.), Transformers, fairy tale, etc.  It was a little time consuming, but the end results was great!  It motivated the kids to start practicing their facts at home and I also put an Alice in Wonderland themed one in our BUILD Centers.  You can find these in my teacher stores, if you're interested!  I also have a blank template as well (no characters).

I also found an app on the iPod called "Motion Math:  Hungry Fish."  Now, I was gifted an iPod Touch via Donors Choose this year, and recently, received a grant from our PTA for 3 more (I'm just awaiting the Otterbox cases before they fall into my students' hands!).  Players combine bubbles to add the number that's on the fish (for example, 1 and 2 make 3 to feed the "3" fish).  
 iPhone Screenshot 1
I also have Math Ninja and a few others.  I have just downloaded the free versions, to see what I think would work best with my kids!  Obviously the paid versions have more levels, but I want to see what my kids think first!
 iPhone Screenshot 2
Do you have any apps or programs you use in the classroom that help with math fluency?  Our school also just started Pearson's "Success Maker".  Any suggestions are more than welcome!  I've also started adding apps that really help my kids on my Pinterest page as well! Thanks for any suggestions! :)


karen @ Smarticle Particles said...

My thoughts exactly-what's wrong with good old-fashioned practice?! At some point they have to have the tools in their tool box in order to move on. I was "spot observed" (which is a big thing in my district this year" and we were doing a mad minute. My principal wanted me to make it "more meaningful"...
Love the blog, I'm your newest follower. I'd love for you to check out my blog as well!

Have a great week,

luckeyfrog said...

I use XtraMath, and also for games! XtraMath is a computer program that basically does timed tests for you, and it's SO easy to use. The kids think it's fun and a game, but it's really just drill.

I think as long as you do teach kids strategies and not just straight memorization, it's definitely meaningful. Once they know the strategies though, they need to get fast and fluent at them- and time tests are a great way to do that!

Luckeyfrog's Lilypad

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