Tuesday, May 22, 2012

On to the Next Project: Mastering Math Facts!

photo of Mastering Math Facts
Now that Graphic Organizers for Reading is finished, I'm ready to move on to my next project! Today I'm excited to begin the process of revising and editing Mastering Math Facts: Multiplication and Division. I wrote this book three years ago, and it's an excellent program for ensuring times table mastery. This isn't the time or place for me to get on my multiplication mastery soapbox, but research backs the view that math fact mastery is critical for future math success. If students don't learn their times tables fluently, they will begin falling behind in 5th grade and will struggle to catch up to their peers. Enough said for now!

Anyway, I know that  Mastering Math Facts is an excellent program, but I also know that the book could use the magic touch of a professional editor! The publishing team at Brigantine Media did an outstanding job with Power Reading Workshop and Graphic Organizers for Reading, so I'm excited to be working with them on this project. We plan to have Mastering Math Facts available in print form by October at the latest. As a side note, the book is still available in digital form for a discounted price, and anyone who purchases the current version will get a free upgrade to the professionally-edited one in the fall. Visit Teaching Resources to download a preview and learn more.

Feedback Requested!
All of my print books from Brigantine Media are stamped with the words, "Field Tested ~ Teacher Approved," and I don't take those words lightly! Thousands of teachers have been using Mastering Math Facts over the last three years, and I would love their feedback as I begin the revision process. If you have been using this program with your students, I invite you to fill out the Mastering Math Facts Feedback Google Doc form I created to compile feedback. Also, I'm seeking a few volunteers who would be willing to give me ongoing feedback through the revision process. The last question on the form asks if you are interested in participating in a discussion group for that purpose. Please answer "Yes" if interested, and within the next few days I'll review the results of the feedback form and select individuals who seem to be a good fit for this project. I will be limiting participation in the group to those who have been using the materials with their students because they are the ones most likely to know what needs to be revised, added, or eliminated.

Do you have a system for ensuring that your students learn their times tables? What strategies have worked for you? What websites and other resources have you found to be helpful?



3 comments:

  1. Awesome books and ideas! I am an avid follower of yours on TPT as well! You are a life-saver! I would love any advice or sites that might help me make a button for my new site. Any info would be appreciated! Thanks so much!

    5thgradetomfoolery.blogspot.com

    Teri

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  2. I teach year five and a goal I set this year was that every student would leave fluent with their facts! At the beginning of the year I gave them a test of 50 questions and they had ten minutes to complete it. From that, I placed them into groups based on accuracy then speed with a group for mastery.

    Most mornings we play simple partner games (dice roll, playing cards, etc) to practice facts. The key is that students have to play with someone in their level so they are more evenly matched. The red group play other mental maths games. I also work with kids on using mental maths strategies, stories/visualisations and memory tricks (such as 56 = 7 x 8 or 5678).

    The kids love the games and are super motivated to move up groups. We retest every five weeks and celebrate everyone's progress.

    Another strategy that helps: I keep a little index card handy that lists the names of students and some facts they are working on so I can quiz them sporadically through the day.

    This system has reaped results! One girl went from 30 in 10:00 to 47 in 3:58! Even my mastery group students made progress. One girl went from 2:47 down to 1:45 which is so fast! It helps that each student has a laptop so they can easily practise at home.

    I have written an essay because I am so excited by these results!
    If you have a chance, could you please point me in the direction of some of the research on maths facts being important for success? Thanks for all the great work you do!

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  3. Thanks so much for this information and these ideas! The research that supports this is contained in the National Mathematics Advisory Panel Report from 2008 and you can read it online here: http://www2.ed.gov/about/bdscomm/list/mathpanel/report/final-report.pdf

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