Fact fluency can be the biggest asset or hinderance in learning mathematics. When a student is struggling with math fact and counting on their fingers, their focus is on the counting rather than on the concept they are trying to learn. When we introduce multiplication to the mix students who have not have not mastered the facts will simply not be able to solve the problem without a multiplication chart. The use of a multiplication chart is extremely slow and also hinders learning key mathematical concepts. Once these facts are mastered learning double digit multiplication, long division, and algebra are much easier to understand and master.

Intervention 1: Use software to practice facts. There are many applications that will help students learn their math facts. Some are free, and some are very expensive, but price does not determine effectiveness. Selecting Software should be a matter of finding the best match. I think the biggest key to effectiveness is that each student has their own account that tracks their progress and builds and reviews previously learned facts while gradually teaching and adding new facts to the list. Ideally the software will combine multiplication and division into a single training system and teach the concept as fact families.

- Reflex Math https://www.reflexmath.com/ is one of the best, It is fun and engaging for students, adjusts perfectly to provide instruction on their level, and teaches the concepts as fact families. Although it is probably the best, it’s price is extremely high compared to other options. It’s almost $3,000 for a school license, or $35 per student for teacher licenses.
- Big Brainz Timez Attack is an arcade style game where students work through the game to and frequently review the facts. This program is also very engaging to students and is almost as effective as Reflex Math. There is a limited free option for just working on multiplication which is actually pretty good. The Prices listed on the website are even higher than Reflex Math however because it’s a Utah based company they work with prices for Utah schools. The Site license is listed at $5,000 but our school pays way less than a thousand.
- Moby Max is not focused on fact mastery, but has a mastery component

Intervention 2: Audio -Problems Intervention

Materials:

- Audio recordings of sets of basic math facts problems (e.g., a set of 15 addition facts). At least three sets should be recorded. Note: The teacher determines the interval between the problem and the given answer. This interval remains consistent throughout the recording.
- Student answer sheet for the set of math facts on the audio recording
- Head phones (if needed)

Procedure:

Instruct the student to listen to the audio recording of a set of basic math facts. As each problem is spoken, the student is to “try to answer faster than the recording” by writing the answer for each problem before he hears it on the audio recording. If the answer is given before he can write it down, then the student writes the correct answer that he hears. If the student writes an incorrect response, he writes a slash mark through his answer and then writes the correct answer is written next to it. The student is to follow along with the recording and not move ahead.

The procedure is repeated multiple times with the recordings of the other sets of basic math facts problems.

The time interval can be very short (e.g., 1 second) in the beginning to help the student develop accuracy and to provide practice with modeling. Then, the intervals can be increased to help the student become more independent in his responses, and, finally decreased to promote more automaticity.

Intervention 3: Building-Up Flash Cards

Flash Cards have always been a relatively effective method of learning math facts, however if used properly it can be become very effective. The best way to use flash cards involves starting with a few known facts then adding one or two new facts each session. That way the new fact will be mastered quickly and is added to the known fact pile. The known facts are reviewed frequently so they continue to improve, and new facts are in small enough increments that they are not overwhelming and are easily learned.

Intervention 4: Learn with Stories

Multiplication tables can be taught using short stories that help the child relate images and stories to the fact that needs to be memorized. A few places you can find this are:

- http://www.multiplication.com/learn/fact-navigator When you click on a fact it will have a video that teaches the story. The stories are memorable, and fun.
- http://www.timestales.com/ Times Tales focuses on the upper facts, and uses consistent characters in the stories. This is not free, but it’s also not too expensive and is my personal favorite.

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