Friday, February 27, 2015

Multiplication Fact Mastery: part three

Next, we started to make our multiplication flashcards. This is what will be about 2 weeks' worth of assignments for our MATH stations (which I explained in my last post here). M stands for Math facts, so flashcards fits perfectly here!
I know that it would be easier to go to the dollar store or Target Dollar Spot and buy bunch of packs for the students to practice with, but where is the fun in that?? and also, how does that make them meaningful?? I want them to really belong to my students, so we make our own every year. Yes, they are time consuming. Yes, it can be frustrating for you as a teacher (I had to hole punch A LOT of index cards!) BUT, my students LOVE making their own flashcards. They feel ownership over those cards and much more responsibility for them because they know how much hard work they put into making them themselves.

To gather the resources for them, I actually ask parents to send in 2-3 packs of blank index cards as part of our school supply list at the beginning of the year. It means I have to store a whole bunch of packs for a few months until we make them, but in the long run it is worth it! They only thing I provide my students is a large binder ring on which their cards will be kept. I also prep them with a hole puncher the day before we make each set and after some modeling and guiding through the ones, twos, and fives, they are on their own to make them in the future!

This was how I guided them in making the first three sets as a whole group. I went over the guidelines for how they had to set up their cards: 
You can even see my example card for 1x1 taped to the board. It stayed there for a few days :) 

1. They had to use marker to write the fact vertically on one side of the card.
2. They had to use pencil to write the answer on the back of the card (so it won't show through)
3. They had to put their initials on EVERY card (in case they lost one/some)
4. One fact set had to be all one color marker, but then the next fact set could be a different color (to prevent rainbow writing!)
5. They had to write the facts just as they are on the board (the set we worked on was always on the bottom)

I would then select one student at a time to go to the board to write the first fact and tell us the answer, then another student would go up and write the next fact and tell us the answer, and so on until all facts through x12 in that set were listed on the board with the answer. 
I then gave everyone a small stack of blank cards and turned them loose to making their flashcards!

I also feel that when they make their own, all those numbers stick. They are writing every. single. fact. and it's product when they make these. That's important.

Eventually, as you see in my last post about Math fact time, they made their own flashcards for the rest of the fact sets. I would write the facts on a small dry erase easel that I placed on one of my students' desks. Our next hour of work is then a MESS! Students and papers are everywhere, and no one is sitting (or standing) at their own desks. I always keep my students' desks grouped in pods and their pods become our working area. One area is always designated for where they make their flashcards, and all of the supplies they need (the blank cards, the easel with the facts, and the colored key you see above) are put in that area. They take all of the supplies they need (markers, pencils, flashcard ring) and move to that area. It's controlled chaos.... and I LOVE IT!

Well, that's all I bother you with for now. I'll be back soon! There's A LOT more to share :)

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