Sunday, April 6, 2014

Fact Fluency

We've been cruising along in math all year, and our last big hurdle is fact fluency.  After our first TBT (Teacher Based Teams) meeting, it seemed that I missed the boat with getting my kiddos to fluency.  We needed something to track and motivate.  Enter the paper gum ball machine and stickers.  My kiddos are taking a "timed test" daily.  I don't call it a timed test, I just tell them to do their best as quick as they can with NO FINGERS.  Many of them find it fun to try to beat their time from the day before.  When we deconstructed the standards last year, we decided that 3 seconds to complete a problem would be fluent.

We are starting with addition.  Students are given 10 problems to complete in 30 seconds or less.  We started with +0.  After passing the +0 two times with no mistakes in 30 seconds or under, students earn a "gum ball" to add to our machine.  I found the gum ball machine template on google images.  They then move on to the +1, +2 and mixed practice.  I chose not to do +3, +4 or +5 because there are very few problems.  These facts are included in "mixed practice" which is 10 problems that include a variety of addition problems.  After they pass the mixed addition, they go on to subtraction.

We started a week and a half ago.  7 students are completely done with addition and 4 more are very close to being finished.  I'm excited about their progress and love that a sticker on the gum ball machine makes their day :).

I also give my kiddos a certificate when they pass all the addition "tests" and again when they pass all the subtraction "tests".  You can download the certificates here.  I just run them on colored paper.  Please consider leaving a comment and/or following if you download the certificates.   I hope these are useful for you!

What do you do to work on fact fluency with your kiddos?


  1. Math facts fluency is so important for our kiddos. We take weekly tests in my class. We have been doing it all year. They have to complete 50 problems in 3 minutes with no mistakes to move to the next level. We start with addition and move to subtraction. I have some students who have finished all the tests and are starting multiplication! It is so incredible to see their progress and growth from the beginning of the year until the end. Your gumball machine idea is adorable! I hope your students are math fact wizards by the end of the year.
    Bright Concepts 4 Teachers

    1. Thanks, Jaime! There has been some discussion as to the appropriate way to assess fact fluency, but this was the way I felt that I could have concrete documentation of their fluency.