I have been reading the book Mastering Basic Math Facts in Addition and Subtraction by Susan O’Connell and John SanGiovanni. Have you heard of it? I have really enjoyed it so far, and have learned so much. Every summer I tend to pick a couple of books to read each summer that I think will help me in the coming year. Usually it’s books about writing or teaching reading, because I hate to admit it but math is not my favorite…and it probably comes across that way in my classroom. When I reflect back and think about our daily math it has never been something I’ve been excited about so as unintentionally as it may be that’s probably what comes across to my kiddos.
SO my vow this year was to work on that and math in general…even though it’s not nearly as exciting as writing…or reading…or art…or writing…and writing…or writing…can you tell what my Favorite subject is??
One of the first things I read that I connected with is the thought of “automaticity.” My school requires that we give timed math fact tests. Which as you’ve probably read from me before… I HATE! I know it’s a strong word…but true. I just don’t see the need of having children doing repeated math facts in a specified amount of time. Have you ever had anyone hand you your checkbook or a bunch of math facts in your adult life and say “here, you have two minutes to get this done!” NOPE! Not me.
But if it is what Mr. Principal says we must do then…we must do. (grrrr).
Right away this book says “Automaticity with basic facts is a goal for our students, BUT alone it is not enough. Students must also understand the facts they are being asked to commit to memory.” Ding Ding Ding!! “they must understand the facts.” Can I get an AMEN!
Another thing I like about this book is the way it is set up. Chapter one starts with understanding addition and subtraction, and then the next chapters break down the how’s and whys. Because like the book tells us “it is important that students attach meaning to the operations before there is any focus on fact fluency.” Love that!
I am about half way through this book and I have already revamped my math fact practice for my kiddos and am working on SO much more. I started with the easiest- the math fact homework that I send home for my kiddos to practice at home. I’d much rather spend our time in the classroom on the how’s and whys and exploring the numbers and concepts than a daily, dull drill and kill. I feel that if I can reinforce the understanding of numbers and facts then their time practicing at home should be easy and fluent!
I like that the book says that kids should learn plus 1 and 2 facts first then plus 0 and plus 10’s. That makes a whole lot of sense to this math-senseless teacher J.
Here is a peek at the first section. It has a homework helper, grouped fact practice tests, data collection, and a few ideas for rewards-cause who doesn’t like rewards. It's all Common Core aligned as well.
I’d love to give a couple of these away. Like I said it is just the first part (the easiest part) I will soon be adding subtraction and facts through 20.
Leave a comment and I’ll pick a few “winners” (I guess you don’t know if you’re actually a “winner” until you see the product lol)
I’ll be back with more thoughts and ahh haa’s from my book later!