Monday, February 11, 2013

Sight Math?

Language teachers use sight words, how about math teachers use sight math?

        Learning, practicing, and developing automaticity for "sight words" in reading is and has been considered an essential part of learning to read for generations. Games, centers, sight word readers, word walls, flash cards and other activities are designed to help students become fluent in these commonly used words so that the working memory is then available to learn new information and comprehend the text. Variety and repetition are key. Whole Brain Teaching has created a game called Super Speed 100 and 1000 for the most commonly used sight words where students practice and practice and try to beat their own personal success scores. WBT has also created an electronic version that can be used on Smartboards for whole group practice. We read the words slow, sometimes slow then fast, sometimes we read the words in monster style voices, pirate voices, opera voices, baby style and so on, we play girl versus boy, 4th grade versus 5th grade, and we even read the voices in roller coaster or the wave style. After reading together for practice the students pair up and read to each other attempting to beat their previous scores. They are competing against themselves not others in the classroom. As long as their personal time and accuracy improves we celebrate a success for that student. 
       So my students love practicing the Super Speed 100 and the Super Speed 1000 on the Smartboard using all of our different styles of reading and their fluency scores show that the practice i improving every student's personal success! So what about math?
      Thankfully, WBT also has an answer for that. Super Speed Math is a WBT activity for students to learn and practice addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and fractions in a peer teaching and game style set up that also allows each student to improve his or her own personal scores. 
       Flash cards and games that go along with flash card type practice have long been used to help students develop automaticity in basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division facts, but let's admit--simple flash cards become very boring very quick. Not to mention, they are so 20th century. I did a little real-life problem solving: repetition + visual/audible/kinesthetic learning modes + instant feedback + 21st century technology + fun (AKA WBT) = kids learning basic math facts quickly and successfully. 
       I have taken the concept of Super Speed Math from WBT and created Smart Board slides that run through each of the facts in a visual format similar to those created and available through the WBT website for sight words. So far I have created the Super Speed Addition Facts for level 1 (similar to the level 1 quiz from Super Speed Math) and the random addition facts (similar to the level 2 quiz) in the Smart Notebook format and I am working to create the slides for basic subtraction facts, then multiplication, division, and fractions. My classroom students are acting as the "guinea pigs" and practicing the Smart Board slides daily before we practice the quiz. I will keep you posted on the overall success of using the slides in class.

     The screen shots below are from the addition (level 1 and level 2) slides. As soon as I find a way to copy these slides to a Microsoft Power Point version I will upload them in the Marvelous Must-Haves page on our website.

Super Speed Math Facts Addition in Sequential Order (Level 1) 

Super Speed Math Facts Addition in Random Order (Level 2)