Math Fact Fluency Practice

Math fact fluency is the quick and effortless recall of basic math facts. When students achieve automaticity with these facts, they have attained a level of mastery that enables them to retrieve them from long-term memory without conscious effort.  There are a lot of opinions from teachers on fact fluency, and rightly so!  With differing levels of learners, it is always hard to expect one criterion across the board.   Math Fact Fluency Practice is something we infuse into our daily routines for math.

WHAT IS FACT FLUENCY

We know that accuracy and fluency are not just about speed.  The goal is not to memorize, pass, and forget, but many times with incentivized programs, that is precisely what happens.

Principles and Standards for School Mathematics states, “Computational fluency refers to having efficient and accurate methods for computing. Students exhibit computational fluency when they demonstrate flexibility in the computational methods they choose, understand and can explain these methods, and produce accurate answers efficiently.”

This post will provide ways for students to gain computational fluency as a mathematician and not just pass a test in a stress-filled moment.  These are math fact fluency practices infused into every day.

AUTHENTIC MATH FACT FLUENCY PRACTICE

Our students need ample time to practice the skill to become efficient and accurate with computing.  Flashcards are the long-standing go-to for this, with good reason, but real understanding comes from working with numbers in everyday and repetitive mathematical situations.  How do we provide this type of practice?  This happens during our Guided Math block or Math Workshop classroom.

NUMBER TALKS

Students begin the math block with a meeting of the mathematicians, where they are given a prompt to problem-solve.  After some time to process and think, students share their reasoning, strategies, steps for problem-solving, and ultimately the answer.  Different mathematicians weigh in, sharing their similarities and differences in solving and with the answers.  Doing this as a Math Warm-Up each day provides a way for students to understand and explain methods of mathematical thinking.

TEACHER-LED SMALL GROUP

During the teacher-led small groups, groups of students work on a skill using the number range and strategies that benefit them most.  This is a powerful time for students to relax and take in the information in a risk-free learning situation.  Providing students with plenty of practice, paired with teaching different problem-solving methods, ensures our students get the targeted practice they need to gain the most authentic computational fluency.

STUDENT WORKSTATIONS

Perhaps the most powerful way to provide math fact fluency practice is during student workstations.  Setting up student workstations means providing students with math practice in many modalities, formats, and skills.  Students are true mathematicians encountering different situations in which to apply their skills.  We want to create a well-rounded math learning experience through our workstation choices.  Students find themselves repeatedly solving, in many different ways, the entire time they are at workstations each day.  These math minutes efficiently allow students the time and experiences to become more accurate, flexible, and skilled with their computational fluency.

MATH FACT FLUENCY PRACTICE RESOURCES K-5

Below I have linked fluency resources that can be used for all stages of the Guided Math Block or math workshop classroom.  Used as warm-ups, during small groups, in workstations, or even as independent work, these resources provide students with math fact fluency practice and testing.

KEEP LEARNING

The following posts can illuminate even more math practices for student success.