I wish I had a time machine. I would go back and change some of my routines I did in my classroom. Without a doubt I would modify the way I taught and assessed math fluency. I was an advocate of timed tests and rote learning of math facts. I sat in parent conferences and defended my stance on the importance of timed fluency tests. Thru professional development and trial and error I modified my fluency curriculum. I came to the conclusion that timed tests and merely recalling math facts did not support the core foundation of my math pedagogy.
I teach math conceptually. I believe that math curriculum is comprised of 30% procedural and 70% conceptual understanding. My main goal is to teach my students to be problem solvers; to work smarter, not harder. But that philosophy wasn’t being used by my students when it came to fluency.
The importance of math fluency hit home one day when I had my students check and grade their own timed tests. I have never noticed how many of them would have to write out 100 minus however many they got wrong to calculate their score. By 4th grade my students should have been able to mentally manipulate numbers within a 100. The time I spent adding rigor to my math block was being wasted if my students couldn’t carry that deep thinking into fluency.
Current trends in education focus on growth mindset, project-based learning, and critical thinking, yet many educators limit student growth by only using timed fluency assessments.
I developed a new process for teaching math fluency. My “5 Steps to Building Meaningful Math Fluency” outlines how I define, teach, and assess math fluency. Each step provides details and examples of how you can start implementing meaningful math fluency in your classroom.
Week 1-Teaching strategies that focus on number sense (CONTAINS A FREEBIE!)