Monday, February 2, 2015

Math Monday - Math Fact Fluency has Literacy Connections

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I hope you will consider joining the conversation.

Today I'm sharing the beginning of a parent letter I just revised in regards to basic math fact fluency.  The more I've thought about it over the years the more I've seen connections between my literacy and math instruction.  I believe these connections have kept me balanced in my expectations and reasons for building math fact fluency.  

Dear Parents,

Brushing your teeth before going to bed each night and saying “please” and “thank you” are good habits.  Biting your fingernails is a bad habit. 

A habit comes from doing something over and over again until you do it without thinking.  Developing basic number fact fluency is developing a good habit for mathematic learning. 

Our math standards state –
Fluently add and subtract within 20 using mental strategies.  By end of Grade 2, know from memory all sums of two one-digit numbers.

Our I can statesments are –
            I can fluently add within 20.
            I can fluently subtract within 20.

Math is so much easier when you are able to commit the basic facts to memory.  I recently heard this – fact fluency is to math what sight words are to reading.  I thought, Ah ha this makes sense!  We read our sight words orally quickly.  This helps us work on multisyllabic words and comprehension. We need to recall our basic facts so that we can solve multi-digit addition and subtraction problems correctly with confidence and without simple mistakes.  I’ve shared this with the students, counting on our fingers to solve basic math facts would be the same as still sounding out sight words.  For example; c-a-t.  They all giggle because decoding cat seems silly now in second grade.

We understand the concept of addition and the concept of subtraction.  Now is the time to mentally recall the answers to basic math facts with automaticity.  “Automaticity is achieved through brief, frequent, interactive activities that provide students with repeated exposure to math facts.” (O’Connell and San Govanni, 2011)

I follow this information with a list of strategies for working with math facts at home, a list of strategies the students will learn, standard flashcards and fact family flashcards with tips for using them.

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  1. Thank you for finding my post -- I kind of missed the link-up step this week!

    FABULOUS letter! I love the connection of basic facts to sight words!

    1. I don't really think until I made the connection with sight words did I value or worry about fact fluency. It's easy to think there are calculators or automaticity doesn't matter but it does with words, why not numbers.

  2. That is a great letter. I'm just getting a bit discouraged because the parents don't seem to pay too much attention to any communication from school. the connection between reading and math is strong.In my second grade class we have a chart of ways readers are link mathematicians. This helps to show the good readers that they can transfer those skills to math, and vice versa,