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mastering math facts with mini flash cards

Dec 28, 2010 // 35 comments // Categories: computation, math // Tags: , , , , , , , .

mastering math with mini math facts

Simple addition math fact flash cards should have been made, used, and memorized months ago, but they weren’t, we didn’t, and Maddy hasn’t.  And I feel awful.

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.

So I tried to make these basic mini math fact cards addition 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.


mastering math with mini math facts

The mini math fact cards addition 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 mini math fact cards addition 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.

Want the math fact cards subtraction NEW, too? You got it!

mastering math with mini math facts

The basic addition Math Facts are cut out . . .

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.

mastering math with mini math facts

. . . 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 mini math fact cards addition 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.

mastering math with mini math facts

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 mini math fact cards addition 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!

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Comment (35) | Leave a comment

  1. Great job! I may print these up to use with my kiddos. I like that they’re little, because like you’re daughter, my daughter LOVES little things.

    On a separate note, we did get the Leapster Explorer for Christmas primarily for our oldest, but also the younger two and they have really enjoyed playing it. It has not been hard at all to put limits on play time (and they usually play it less than the actual limit they have). It’s been fun for all of us.

    I wish we lived closer together and actually knew each other in person. I love how you love education as much as me and figure out how to turn everything into an educational activity and your 4 kids are similar in age to my 3 (my oldest, a girl, is in first grade). Anyway, thanks again for another great activity.

    • Brandy,
      You are totally the sweetest. I’m glad your kiddos like the Explorer; mine got a few new games for Christmas, and they have loved every minute of it, too.

      I do wish we lived closer–I’m sure we’d be close buds and I bet our kids would be the loudest, craziest, coolest on the block!
      cheers, my friend!

  2. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Wondeful of you to realize she needed the help and then do what you could to help her and make it fun! You’re a great Mommy! And a wonderful resource for teachers. So glad I found you. : )

    • Lisa,
      You’re welcome. And thanks for making me feel better about my probably way-too-late realization, my friend!
      Thanks for writing and even bigger thanks for reading.

  3. I daughter is still a toddler but I already know that I am guilty of leaning towards the “reading” more than the math….I hang my head in shame :)

    • Hey friend! Don’t hang your head in shame! At least you’re aware of it now–so just try more deliberately to shove in a little math fun now and again…not easy for the Reading folks out there, but at least we’re trying!!

    • I found a great website I use with my 5 yr old that is good for math practice. they let you practice answering up to 20 problems a day. You can join too and they will give you stats etc. I try to have him work on some each day. And try to do a quick lesson before hand on it. Im more reading oriented too. I like this site. It might be too soon but you could try the free practices and type the answers. Hope that helps

      Marybeth Santos
      • Marybeth–
        Many thanks for sharing. I’ll have to check it out!

  4. My two boys are definitely more inclined toward math, so I haven’t had to make use of any drilling or flashcards with them. Love the idea though! I’ll have to save it in case baby girl would like them. :)

    • Sounds good, Brenna! I won’t need them for my #2, either, I bet. Funny how kiddos in the same family with the same parents have completely different needs and skills, right?

      Best to you!

  5. What age to recommend beginning to teach math concepts? I have a 2 and 1/2 year old.. Thank you for the wonderful post and blog. You are truly exceptional.

    Lauralee Flores
    • Lauralee–
      Thanks so much for your kind words, my friend! It’s never too early to start teaching anything–math concepts, reading concepts, colors, anything! When you put on your little one’s shoe, sing ‘One, two, buckle my shoe. . . ‘; count cars that drive by your house; look for ’2′–his or her number wherever you can; there are tons of things you can do!
      Thanks for reading!

  6. Hi Amy,
    Another spin on it… have Maddy pick two cards from the deck and add together. Is she more of a visual learner when it comes to math? I really do believe that kids DO need to memorize at a certain point – spelling and math facts. But does she still need to make dots/tick marks as help? Give her scrap paper even when doing math facts. It’s so hard; we tell the kids to memorize in their heads and then as they grow up, we expect them to show their work! So in my opinion, it is NOT a bad thing to use resources (pencil, paper, etc) instead of doing it all in our heads. If a kid practices over and over, then they’ll eventually know it, don’t worry.

    No matter what please tell your kids that they can do it! Reading or math! Please don’t mention that they are more English/reading-oriented (or math-oriented) or else they’ll think they can’t do it before they even begin school. It is so important to emphasize that math is a normal part of life (not a punishment but also not have to be “fun” all the time too). Being innumerate (math illiterate) is just as scary as being illiterate in reading!
    (I really don’t mean to rant, just wanted to encourage! You moms are doing GREAT!!! Please don’t sell yourselves short when it comes to math too :) You are more capable than you think!!!)

    Happy 2011!
    trisha (a SAHMM — stay at home math prof mom :) )

    • Trisha–
      So true. So, SO true!! I am glad you brought this up, bc it’s SUCH an important thing for parents to remember–labeling kids is NOT the way to go. I am very conscious of not labeling my kiddos as ‘math’ or ‘reading’ skilled (or anything for that matter!) and rather try to focus on their overall successes and skills with each (I just openly admit my personal math downfalls here, w/ adult readers!).
      My husband, the former math teacher, is a big encourager of using ‘help’–fingers, pencil/ paper, whatever, so you’re right there, too–hopefully with the help of the ‘village’ we’ll have our kiddos covered!

      Many, many thanks for sharing your expertise!! So happy you took the time to write!!

  7. Another fun way to study them – write them on index cards, hole punch the corner and then put them on a ring, so they can be carried around anywhere and practiced anywhere.

  8. my b had trouble with the math facts too and our ‘problem’ is she wants to do everything by herself–no mom! so, i found a cool app on the ipod touch–mathdrills, i think it’s called–and had her practice that every day! she loved it! it times her, marks the ones that are incorrect and, shows me a graph of how fast and accurate she is! i offered her a little incentive for getting her time below a certain mark!

    • Dana.
      THANK YOU!! Cannot wait to check that out, my friend!

  9. Amy, we loved these little flashcards. I recently found a fun site. You can practice math facts through fun online games using your Wii (if it’s connected to the internet, or you can play on your computer). My husband and I even had fun with the racing math fact games. You and your kiddos might enjoy it too:

    Happy Learning!

  10. going back now and printing these…i’m going to keep them in a dressed up altoids tin!

    • Dana! super idea–I think I’ll pick up some Altoids and do the same! Take pict and link back if you do! Awesome-

  11. I love your mini math fact cards for ADDITION facts. Do you have them for SUBTRACTION too?? I’m struggling to find them on this webpage. I probably just skipped over. Thanks tons for sharing!

  12. I’d LOVE to have a set of the subtraction mini flashcards:)

  13. These are great! Any chance you have some subtraction flash cards? Those seem to be our stumbling block right now!
    Thanks :0)

    • Okay! Just added them to the site, and I think the cards should be easier to download now–let me know!

  14. Argh, I can’t seem to print these. I can’t download them, and to print from the webpage it’s all funky. Any tips?


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