mastering math facts with mini flash cards
Like foul shots in basketball, these basics are concepts that can be made better with repeated practice, and these are things that parents can–and I believe should–help their kids practice and learn. They’re the building blocks of math, and with a little support and a few reminders, most kids can commit these to memory.
So after Maddy (gulp) had to repeat her Math Fact Practice Sheet for the (gulp, again) gazillionth time, with a little push from one of my super-smart sisters, I realized I needed to move my Reading-programmed brain into full-fledged math-mode. So along with a lot of new-toy playin’, this winter break will be filled with a lot of math-fact practicin’.
Maddy wants to learn these basic facts–and she needs to in order to move forward. But I’m afraid that unlike her brother (and much like her mama) her brain is more wired for reading and language. So practice she needs, and practice we will do.
- Mastering Math Facts With Mini-Flash Cards: No matter how much I tried to incorporate math learning into our every day, no matter how many number games we played–on the road or at home–for some, learning math facts means memorizing. Just like sight words, just like left and right.
So I tried to make these basic addition Math Fact Mini Flash Cards simple, but a little bit novel. They’re not normal-sized flash cards–big, bulky and screaming that she doesn’t know the facts she should know by now.
The Math Fact Mini-Flash Cards are ready!
Instead, they’re mini without being too, too small. Because everything my sweet Maddy seemed to ask for recently has been just that–mini. Littlest Pet Shop pets, Polly Pockets, American Girl accessories–teeny-tiny things for already small toys.
The Math Fact Mini-Flash Cards are here to download as a pdf if you so care to use them. They include 10 pages of basic addition facts: 0-10 with ten cards on each sheet. Small enough to fit in your pocket or your purse or your kiddo’s backpack.
When I printed them out, Maddy was unusually, surprisingly excited. She actually smiled and said she wanted to use them immediately so she’d do better on her Math Fact Practice sheets at school (my textbook oldest child). So I cut them out, and we sorted them by fact families.
. . . and the Math Fact bags are labeled, sealed, and ready to be learned.
And then I labeled six sandwich bags with ‘math facts’ in six different colors. I put about 16-20 cards in each bag, and they were ready to go.
I want to have six bags of Math Fact Mini-Flash Cards ready to use and practice anywhere–in my purse, in the kitchen, in the living room, in Maddy’s room. Anywhere. And I think that 16 or so cards will be just enough to create a mix of facts that she knows already with facts that she needs work on, and since the bags are color-coded, we’ll kind of be able to keep track of which groups she knows and which she doesn’t know as well.
And then I asked which bag she wanted to start with, and she chose blue, and we practiced. And practiced. And practiced more.
We reviewed some tricks as we came across problems needed tricks, like the 10′s family (just put the number added to 10 in the 1′s spot, and it you have the answer), and we reminded her that if she’s stuck, it’s totally fine to take a minute to figure the answer out. When in doubt, she can always take the larger number and use her fingers to add the next number to it.
With a lot of praising, she ran through the mix of cards about six or seven times, and she tried to get speedy the last few times. We focused on her successes and were patient when she got hung up, reminding her to give herself a second before she called out an answer.
After a week or two, once I notice that Maddy’s committed more of the facts to memory, I’ll pull out some math-fact games–much like the ones we do with spelling words or with sight words–so that she gets used to ‘playing’ a little with the facts like she does with words. But until then, we’ll rock out with these simple Math Fact Mini-Flashers for a good long while, increasing her confidence and doing what we can from our end to help support Maddy’s math learning.
It’s (almost) a new year–a time for starting fresh and stepping out on the right foot–so we’re turning over a new leaf as far as math facts are concerned. Let’s hope this is a New Year’s Resolution I can remember to stick with!