As you are reading this, I am probably doing some meaningless task that all teachers do their first two weeks on Summer break. I like to become a vegetable for a week or so then re-join society the following week ;)
It is no surprise that 3rd grades overcome lots of hurdles, with multiplication being one of them. We give the speech during meet the teacher and continue to press students AND parents to help them learn!
When I entered my new school, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that they use a program called, "Mastering Math Facts" by Donald B. Crawford. Teachers refer to it as Rocket math or Otter Creek.
Most teachers teach their students facts in sequential order, "0x any #, 1x any #, 2x#, and so on. Otter Creek teaches math facts in sets with about 4 facts in each set. Each level is repeated until there is automaticity with that set. I was amazed but to me this makes so much more sense. For students to solve fluently and use mental math, knowledge of math facts is essential. Since students will not see sequential facts in daily life, mixing it up is more common to them.
The sets move from A-W (Why no "X,Y,or Z is beyond me!)
Students are given about a minute for 40 problems. That is SO MUCH I know! Sometimes I cheat and give them 1minute 10-15seconds. I'm a sucker, what can I say?
Students 1st take a handwriting test. They are given a paper like the one below and must copy as many numbers as possible in 30 seconds. The Otter Creek Quizzes have 40 questions. If students cannot physically write 40 numbers in 1 minute, how do we expect them to on a quiz?
*There is a formula to translate the handwriting test to the quiz but I can't remember…whoops*
Once students begin. I give each one a personalized folder. I used a label to place their class number on the side so I can re-use.
Each folder houses their data tracker. The color each candy piece when they complete a set. Their quiz for that day is in there along with a grid of QR codes that scan to online flashcards for each set on Quizlet.
I have a clear plastic filling bin I bought from Michael's for $4.
Each letter stands for a set from Otter Creek.
Each letter has the set quizzes and a certificate.
I sit at my round table and grade (I use an answer key).
When a student passes, I quickly grab the next set from the filing cabinet and write their name on a certificate. Then I shove the papers into their math fact folder. It is so simple!
As the kids pass (or not pass) I write the letter they are on for the following week on this tracker sheet. This is great for me because I can communicate with parents how quickly they are mastering their facts, or how LONG they are taking on a particular set.
Everyone has a different take with Multiplication, it is the BEAST that we 3rd grade teachers scratch our scalps every year trying to find the perfect way.
…& don't get me started with division haha ;)
Otter creek comes in a pack for addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division so it works for me.
How have you helped your kids with mastering their facts ?
Before I forget, if you use Otter creek. Download the certificates and data tracker that you see in the pictures above! :)
If you don't own Otter Creek, this organizational tool can certainly help you with any program that you use!