Do your students struggle because they haven't mastered their basic math facts?
Are they having trouble with multi-digit multiplication and division?
How about fractions?
If so, you're in the right place!
What's more, you're not alone! Hello everyone! Candice here, and teachers I've spoken with agree that a lack of automaticity with the basic math facts seriously impedes students' ability to comprehend higher operations, slows them down with testing, and causes a lot of frustration.
(Psssst! Sidebar question here: Did you know that there are Best Practices for teaching math facts? These practices are grounded in research and have been proven to work! Further, they are NOT hard to integrate into your instructional day! You can get a copy of that list ABSOLUTELY FREE by clicking the yellow box below! Then, read on to learn how I used these practices to create a system that you will LOVE!)
Now, we all agree that fact fluency is vital and is required by many state standards.
But, teachers face a LOT of barriers to helping their students reach it.
I bet you can identify with these and many more!
While there are many programs out there that attempt to help students learn basic math facts, sometimes they present problems of their own. Some rely on repeated quizzing of random facts without supplying a structured or systematic approach. Others require that children spend even more time staring at screens playing games that they might not even enjoy, while others may not follow sound principles of instruction that strengthen students' Number Sense and prepare them for consideration of higher level concepts. You may have seen a few such programs. I have, too. That's why I can honestly say...
I FEEL YOUR PAIN!
As a teacher, I experienced and understood these problems.
As an Instructional Designer, I determined to create a program to help teachers overcome them.
I GET IT! You need a program for teaching basic math facts that:
Fits seamlessly into your instructional day,
Is self-paced so your students can work at their own speed,
Uses a variety of learning modalities (visual, oral, and kinesthetic) to engage and motivate your students,
Leverages kids' need for social interaction in positive and productive ways,
Doesn't force kids to stare at screens,
Builds Number Sense and lays the foundation for higher levels of math,
Offers ideas for extended thinking activities to deepen understanding of concepts,
And, is flexible enough to allow you to adapt it to meet their specific needs yet structured enough to be easy to implement and use.
Are we on the same wavelength here?
Then, meet Agatha and Mortimer!
Hi! I'm Agatha and I like to ADD!
Hello! I'm Mortimer and I like to MULTIPLY!
Agatha and Mortimer are two fun little friends I created to be the mascots of my Just Bead It! math facts mastery programs!
Fun title, huh? Kids love it, too!
I'll explain more about that below, but for now, take a peek at how it works!
A couple of notes before we begin:
1. The programs are designed to focus on one level at a time. (Best practice!!)
2. Each level should take about a week, but students can take longer or move faster if need be. Again, YOU decide!
3. The Additive Identity Property of 0 must be taught separately as does the effect of multiplying by 0.
The program begins with an assessment to determine students' baseline. It includes all facts ( Plus 1s through Plus 10s) for addition and Times 1s through Times 12s for multiplication.) Using this assessment is helpful, especially for showing growth once the program is finished, but is also optional. You decide what's best for your students!
For each level in both programs, the students begin with a Number Models and Story Problems page. This strengthens Number Sense by making the operations visual and then showing real-life applications for their use.
Addition Number Models include ten-frames and number lines. Multiplication Number Models include matrices, pattern boxes, and arrays. VERY VISUAL!
The next step for each level is the use of the Fact Cards. When copied back to back, the answers appear on the back of the problem cards. There are Fact Card pages for each level for both addition and multiplication. Students cut them apart and use them in a variety of ways as they work on that level. One such way is shown next!
The Scramble, Match, and Check activity is at the heart of this amazing program! Instead of being expected to simply memorize random facts, students get to use the power of association to build schema and foster recall! The problem cards and answer cards are cut apart, scrambled, matched, and then checked by turning the problem cards over to see if they match! Students can explore the pattern created by placing the cards in numerical order as shown, and then mix them up in later practice sessions!
The next step is the Written Sums (or Products) page. Designed to resemble the cards from Scramble, Match, and Check, this page removes one more level of scaffolding and asks students to write the answers to the problems shown. The first table gives the problems in numerical order. The others are mixed up, but all facts within that level are covered four times on this page. GREAT PRACTICE!
Time to remove another scaffold! The Fact Practice pages are designed such that when students complete the first column which contains the problems in numerical order, they FOLD THE PAGE BACK along the bold black line to hide that first column. Then, they proceed to fill in the answers to the problems in random order. These pages are included in BOTH the addition and the multiplication programs!
Time for some FUN! Each program includes 4 Game Cards for every level! This game is to be played like LOTTO where every space must be filled to win the round. Center spaces are FREE! The caller gives the PROBLEM and the players check to see if they have the ANSWER! Great for extra practice before a quiz or as a review to support retention of learned facts!
Quiz time! At the end of each level, students are given the opportunity to show what they know! Each quiz contains every problem in its level 3 times. If a student gets every problem right 2 out of those 3 times in 60 seconds, they pass that level. While it is recommended that these quizzes be timed (after all, knowing the facts instantly and without having to count or calculate is what fluency means), they can also be given without the use of a timer.
Now, about that title...
Have you ever noticed how appealing it is to EARN things? Badges, bonuses, levels? Well, my work with children at summer day camps taught me that kids will do almost ANYTHING to earn a BEAD on a necklace! That's right! Believe it or not, having to EARN something can be highly motivating!
(BUT, if you're not into awarding beads, the programs WILL STILL WORK
even without the use of beads or necklaces!)
HOW and WHY?
Because they are grounded in solid instructional principals that:
Keep kids engaged,
Strengthen their number sense,
And make it relevant to them!
All while fostering community spirit in the class!
So, the question now is, beads or no beads? Let's explore both options!
Option 1: Beads
Here's where the "Just Bead It" title makes sense!
With the beads option, students earn beads as they progress through the levels of each program; addition or multiplication. Bead kits containing enough beads for 25 students are available for purchase in my store! The beads are earned as students pass the Level Quizzes at the end of each unit.
This option is great if your school has a policy regarding the display of student information, or if you just don't want to deal with beads and necklaces! Students keep the page below in a folder or binder and mark off their progress as they go through and pass off each level. Complete privacy!
So, what do you think? Have I addressed all your questions and concerns? If not, please reach out to me using the button below. If so, and you're ready to order your copy of Just Bead It!, click the SHOP button below.
Did I mention that on-site training is available?
If your administrator would like, I am happy to come do an on-site training for your faculty! We will discuss Best Practices for teaching math facts, set-up and implementation of Just Bead It! including the needed materials to get everyone off on the right foot!
So, no more skirting the problem of students' lack of fact mastery! Let's fix it together! I'd love to help!