Friday, August 31, 2012

Daily Four Math and Math fact Practice

This is the first year we are introducing “Daily Four” math with our kiddos.  As many of you probably know “Daily Four” consists of math fact practice, Math by Myself, Math with a Partner, and Meet With Teacher.  We have previously called it Daily Three (excluding the math fact practice because we had a shorter math block).  We switched around our schedule this year which makes a longer math block and allows for math in the morning.  What a difference!!! No longer are the days after lunch where we have to literally wrack our brains to figure out why our kiddos cannot stay focused even with the most entertaining lessons (o.k. well maybe not every math lesson was the most exciting.)  ;)
Memorizing math facts is one of the skills our school really seems to struggle with. So….we thought we better try something new this year!!!! We are always eager each year to see what works or doesn’t work so we can improve or tweak it for the following year!  We seriously start to go crazy around May thinking of new ideas for the next school year. Ok getting back to “Daily Four.” We found some awesome websites which make our students look forward to practicing their math facts. Changing the websites biweekly or even weekly keeps our students excited to “play” their math games. Little do they know it is truly helping them to memorize those important facts!  We thought we’d share some of the sites/activities we found effective and easy for students to access without downloading or having to install software.  We hope you find them useful!
(Here is a two player math fact game)
I’m sure many of you are thinking so what do you do with the other students who chose math fact practice while your only 3-4 computers are in use!?!? Well, we have grouped our students so there is an even number (most of the time).  Therefore, students can practice math facts with a partner if the computers are in use. We really like to use the math fact triangles from the Every Day Math Series because students become familiar with relating the three numbers.  Here they are if you’re interested!
Moving on to Math With a Partner…This is where students work with a partner to review previously learned skills through the use of various games.  Many of our games we found online at websites or have created to meet our individual student’s needs for the year. We have arranged them with the following labels that change throughout the year based on the skills we have taught: Time travelers, Number Sense Knowledge, Measurement Mania, Money Magic, Friendly Fractions, Problem Solving, Park, Addition Adventures, Geometry Junction, Subtraction Station, Place Value Paradise, Pattern Puzzlers.  (We found the names for these skills from a website we found which called them "Math Zones.")      
Below you will see a picture of how they are set up in our room.  The bottom basket is where the math fact triangles are kept.
Math By Myself: We have received many questions such as “what do you do when students finish their paper and pencil work for the daily lesson?”  We have found that making a packet based on students individual levels are useful for a spiral review.  So if students finish early they can finish a page in their “math pack.”  If they are still done early, they can practice task cards that we have on a key ring at a designated spot in our rooms. They write their answers in their “math lab” books.  This is a fun mini composition book  where students record their answers. 
So that is our “Daily Four” math in a nutshell.  We always appreciate any feedback on what you found that works for all of you!


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