Sunday, January 26, 2014

Growing Fact Fluency: Part 2


If you read some of my previous posts, you know that I have been focusing on math fact fluency in my classroom.  The Common Core Standards have a fluency standard, but my reason for implementing the fluency program in my classroom wasn't exactly because the Common Core Standards told me to.  We all know that fluency of math facts will help our students be successful in the upper grades as the math gets more complicated.  This has been something I have been wanting to do for awhile, but now that I am finished with Grad School, I have a bit more free time.  Thank goodness!

Here is the basic rundown of how I manage the fact fluency assessments and progress monitoring:
I check to see which tests each student needs to take, and give them the corresponding assessment.  The students get one minute to answer 25 problems.  I collect the assessments, check them, and mark the results on the checklist in my fact fluency binder.  If a student passes a level, I give them a certificate that states they passed, as well as a set of flash cards for the next level that they can go home to practice.

I monitor their growth using a checklist that I keep in my binder.  I can easily see at a glance where each student is.  For example, I can see that some of my students are still really struggling with their 0's facts, while I have some students who are much further ahead.

While the checklist is a simple way of tracking my students' growth, I wanted my students to also be able to see their progress.  I do this through a "fluency data wall" that I created on one of the cabinet doors in my classroom.

I have flowers hanging on the door, with the different fact levels written on them.  0's, 1's, 2's, etc...  The students each have their own marker on the flowers that tells us all where they are as far as fact fluency.  Each student got to decorate their own butterfly to give them ownership of their growth.

I attach the butterflies to the flowers by using small closepins that I purchased from the Target Dollar Spot a few years ago.  Glad to know they finally came in handy!

As excited as I am about my little data wall, I am even more excited about how easy it makes it for my students to practice their math facts during down times.  In my school, they want us to keep our students busy at all times.  We are supposed to carry flashcards with math facts or word wall words on them, and use them as the students are standing in line waiting for the restroom.  That's a great idea, but I can't just stand in line and quiz my students on their facts.  I don't know about you, but I have to rotate between the bathrooms to make sure the students aren't stuffing the sink full of paper towels or hopping between bathroom stalls like it's their job.

So I came up with a better idea.  I color coded my flash cards to match the flowers on the data tracking wall.  The 0's facts are green, the 1's facts are light pink, and so on.

When we go to the bathroom, we grab the basket with the flashcards inside.  When the students are finished using the bathroom, they can grab the set of flashcards they are working on and practice their facts during that time.

Because we are an environmental magnet school, and also because colored paper is EXPENSIVE, I copied the flashcards front and back.  The students can practice the front and back sides of the flashcards.  Whenever they move to the next level, they pull out that color flashcards to practice.  They can also practice their flashcards whenever they have extra time in the classroom.

Oh, and because I love love love having things on rings, I punched a hole in the flashcards and now each child can grab a ring with the set of facts they are working on.  :-)  I am so clever.

I have added the data wall component to my Growing Fact Fluency pack on Teachers Pay Teachers.  If you have already purchased, go back and download the updated version to get the data wall to use in your classroom!

Of course, flashcards and fluency assessments aren't the only way we practice fluency in my classroom!  Check back soon for some ideas on how to practice fact fluency in your classroom!

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