Math Facts

I will be blunt in the fact that I am not a fan of Math Facts from middle school and beyond.  I feel individuals get stuck on the fact that students don't know their multiplication tables.  In my classroom by middle school if we are not working on a computation standard I freely let them use a calculator to solve problems.

I have stated before that Math Facts in Middle School and High School need to be standard driven, and last time I checked there are no standards that focus strictly on 3x4 or 12/6.  In my middle school classroom about once a week we work on Standards based Math Facts.  These facts include in 6th grade simplifying fractions, in 7th and 8th grade solving equations, integers, rational numbers, combining like terms, distributive property.

With these facts students know my focus is accuracy. I tell them I don't care how many you get completed as long as you are working on them and accurate.  I never spend more than 5 minutes letting them practice these skills and spend less than 5 minutes also going over them.  Many times I let them correct what they finished using a calculator.  We have an understanding that the only person who will see how far they got will be them and myself.

I have been trying to step up the rigor in my classroom and been buried looking through Engage NY and slowly introducing students to a new rigor which was unheard of in the Oregon Focus Series.  Within this content I have been using the Sprint Rounds (Pictured Below).  I have found these to be wonderful, so much so I wish there were more. One of the most beneficial part of these is how they are structured. The right half of the sheet is basic; an entry level for all students to be successful.  The left half of the sheet holds many more rigorous problems. So far in these sprints my advanced students haven't had enough time to finish and have been challenged and my SPED students who are varied in ability from very very low to working slightly below grade level have been able to get at least a handful done.

Below is a picture of two students work. The work on the left is a SPED student who is showing huge growth in math.  On the right is a more advanced math student.  In this sprint students used substitution to check their work.  Only downside I see is the harder problems on the right students have no space for work as evident by squishing it on the lines.


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