Thursday, December 16, 2010

Tips and Tricks: Math Facts

Kids hate to learn math facts. The age of memorization is passed. They don't even know their home phone numbers--it's in their cell phone. Okay, that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but not much.

So here's my trick (which a stole and then made my own):

CHALLENGE CLUBS! We do Challenge Clubs on Fridays, and they take less than 10 minutes start to finish. Kids are very motivated by them, but I can't explain why. I have a folder full of 100 basic fact problems for each operation. Everyone follows my order (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and mixed extra challenge) and my procedure (4 minutes to complete 100 facts correctly.) At the end of 4 minutes I ask for people who have joined the addition challenge club, and so on down the line. Last year you got to sign a poster when you joined the club. This year I take your photo with your paper to hang on the door to our room, and I say, "Welcome to the Club!"

It feels competitive and elite, but it's simple. I like it because it's very cost effective, and students are mostly self-motivated on this one.

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