Math fact fluency is SO critical to the success of kiddos throughout their school careers. It is those basic foundational skills which really set the kids up for success moving forward. I have seen kids who have gone back, put time and effort into memorizing their math facts, and then have shown GREAT success continuing on with the math curriculum. How can I fit this in, when the curriculum is so demanding and there is truly SO. MUCH. TO. DO?!?!? Monster Math is the answer. 🙂
What is MONSTER MATH Math Fact Fluency?
Monster math is an addition (also comes in subtraction and multiplication) math fact fluency program that assesses the kids fluency of their facts with 1 minute timed tests. It is SUPER organized, effective, and EASY to implement. What is a great is it can also be easily differentiated to meet the needs of YOUR kids and their levels.
How do I implement the Math Fact Fluency Program?
I typically start Monster Math with my first graders around Thanksgiving (November). I have found this works best, because the beginning of the year craziness has passed and the kids are mentally ready for a new, fresh challenge.
For WEEK 1, I have all the kids start with +0 facts. I send the parent letter and packet (shown above) to the parents at the start of the week. It explains the program in detail and provides practice flashcards for the kids.
On Friday of the first week, all the kids take the +0 fact test. They answer the facts as quickly as possible and I teach them to use the extra time on the clock to GO BACK and check their answers. I set a timer on my phone and hit start.
NOW- if the kids have been stuck on a week (+7 for example which can be harder) I sometimes “pause” the minute on my phone to give them a bit of extra time.) I want the kids to feel successful, so change the time as needed!
After the minute timer goes off, I have the kids lift their tests in the air so I know they aren’t going beyond the time (by putting it above their head- it allows me to quickly scan the room). They then stand up with their tests and get in a number line up (all of my kids are assigned a number so this makes it easy to have all the tests in order. 🙂 I collect all of the tests and we go about our day. It is FAST and EASY.
What do I send home?
Since all the kids start on +0, 99.9% of the time all of the kids pass week 1. So the parents get the test sent home with the NEXT TEST highlighted at the bottom. If by chance they get something incorrect, I highlight it and highlight TRY AGAIN at the bottom. SEE PIC BELOW.
TRY AGAINS don’t typically happen the first week, but they will for many of the kids. SO, that is why keeping this program organized is key so everyone knows what test they are taking each week.
After I grade and highlight, I send them home so the parents/kids know which test they are taking the following Friday and which facts to study.
How do I keep it organized?
I use a file box to keep all of the tests separated. I have found this is the best and QUICKEST way to pull out the tests each week.
Once the kids all are on different levels, it is imperative that you have an organized and quick method to get the tests out to them. I make it a very big deal that the KIDS have to be the ones responsible and to KNOW which number test they are on and taking. I would say 90% of my kids are EXCELLENT with this. You can always keep a list if you need to, but I find that there are only 2-3 kids who I have to double check, the rest should be able to keep track.
So on Friday, I have the kids get in a number line up before we start the test, they come up to me and the file box and tell me which number test they need. I pull it out, hand it to them, and they go to their desk and get into testing mode ready to start. It goes pretty quickly. 🙂 If a kiddo forgets which test they are taking, they look at the Monster Math display to help them.
MONSTER MATH DISPLAY
The Monster Math Display is how we keep track of who is on which test each week. It is nice, because it is very discreet and doesn’t make anyone feel weird about not passing a level because all of the names blend in. Each time the kids pass a level, the sign their name on the number fact they mastered. If they forget which level test they are taking, I send them over to the display to check for their name.
How can I squeeze in math fact practice during the school day? (PS. these are all FREE)
I have a number of ways that I have my kids practicing their math facts on a daily basis. Read on for some ideas!
1. Math Games/Centers
When my kids finish their independent or partner practice after our daily math mini lesson- one of my math games is always KNOW YOUR FACTS. Where the kids quiz each other on their math facts using flash cards. Simple, easy, free, and EFFECTIVE.
2. Addition and Subtraction Doodle Challenges
These are a sneaky way for kids to practice. I say sneaky because the kids don’t necessarily see it as solo math practice. They are fun and artsy too! This is usually a paid product in my store, but go to this link below to grab it for FREE! Also- these directly align with my Monster Math Fact fluency program so the kids like them as a way to study for the weekly test.
3. AROUND THE WORLD
This is a FREE game that you can literally play ANYWHERE. All you need is a set of flashcards. My kids beg to play it at the end of the day when we have a few minutes before buses.
To play- all kids sit at their desks. The first person to start stands up and stands behind the second person (sitting). Those two go head to head at shouting out the answer to the math fact that the teacher holds up on the flashcard. Whichever student (sitting or standing) says the correct answer first, is the winner. They travel onward to compete against the next sitting person. If the person standing go it wrong, they sit in the chair of the person who won. If the person standing wins, they keep going to the next person sitting.
The GOAL is to go “around the world” aka beat everyone sitting at their desks and make it back to your starting spot/desk.
4. Math Fight APP
A FREE app for practicing math facts. This app is a competitive app of speed and knowledge. Two kids sit across from one another with the iPad in the middle. The screen is split to each kid has to answer a different math fact. There are several different levels and the addition and subtraction modes are FREE!
I have a bunch of fun ways to practice math facts in this blog post too!