Tag Archives: fact fluency

Mastering the Basic Facts – Resources from Campbell River

I am very proud to announce the publication of two teacher resources called Mastering the Facts – Addition and Mastering the Facts – Multiplication. Created in collaboration with the Campbell River School district, these resources combine my work with the work of teacher leaders in elementary schools in Campbell River. We wanted to put together a set of lessons that could be used in classrooms across the province to help students truly master – and not just memorize – their basic facts.

Each book includes a set of lessons describing each of the facts, both addition and multiplication. Featuring strategies like “doubles”, “double doubles” and “bridging through tens”, the books make explicit connections to our WNCP curriculum and the mental math learning outcomes at each grade level.  Each lesson features a direct instruction component and a “before-during-after” lesson frame. Guided practice, literature connections, real-world problems, independent practice (games) and fluency builders are also included. For each lesson, there is an assessment component to sort out what students know and can do.  It evaluates in numbers, pictures, words, models and real-world problems the extent to which students have mastered the strategy – and also mastered the facts themselves. Games, line masters, literature links and assessment tools are included in the resource.

In addition to the teacher resources, a set of Addition Posters and Multiplication Posters are also available to describe – in pictures, and in students’ words – how each strategy is applied.  There are 9 posters in the set, printed on 11″x17″ glossy bond paper.

Although the books and posters are being distributed through the Campbell River School District, I am available – and happy! – to do professional development with school staffs and resource teams around the materials.  This might involve a series of sessions with time scheduled in between to apply and try the strategies, or an overview session to learn techniques and practice the games…  Books for participants would be made available for the sessions so we could speak to the lessons explicitly.

I am very proud of these materials and of all the teachers who collaborated to produce them.



Click here to order!

Great games for developing fluency

Hello all!  I wanted to upload a couple of my new favourite games for developing fluency with the facts.

Once a strategy for recalling the facts has been learned, these games will help students to apply those strategies more fluently.  It takes time and practice to master the facts – practice with the strategies and then practice using the strategies to recall the facts themselves…  We all know the facts are critical to success with math.  How we master them matters too.

So, first is the game from BEAM called Add Nines.  It depends on knowing the strategy of “compensation”.  Compensation is an algebraic idea, in which we “take from one number and give to the other”.  This strategy works because in every case we make a ten (or another round number).

Think of it like this:

If we add 9 and 7, then we can take 1 from the 7 and give it to the nine, to make 10 and 6.  And ten and 6 is easy… 16!

This game invites students to practice “taking one from one addend and giving it to the 9 to make ten and some more…”  While this SOUNDS tricky, if you imagine the following images of 9 and 7, it’s pretty evident:

The next game is for mastering the 2 x facts and the 4 x facts.  It’s my own (adapted from another BEAM game) but with numbers accessible to students learning these facts in 4th and 5th grade.  It’s called Double or Double-Double.  The goal of the game is to practice the strategy of doubling (multiplying by 2) or “double-doubling” (multiplying by four).

Think of it this way.  Double 6 is 12.  Double 12 is 24.  So that means that double-double 6 is 24… Mathematically speaking, it’s the same as 2 x (2 x6) or 4 x 6.  The idea of “double-doubling” works for all numbers, too.  I like to call it the Tim Horton’s strategy.  :o)

I hope these games prove fun for you and your children…  More than that, I hope they will help your kids to truly master these important facts!