Ever wonder how to help students who struggle with basic fact fluency? Excited about math running records, but not sure about next steps? Aware of current research, encouraging visually-rich, conceptually-based tasks, but not sure where to begin? Tired of "busy work," and want to provide students with rich opportunities to make big gains with their automaticity?
What? A research-driven fact fluency intervention aimed at helping our most vulnerable learners.
The main goals of this resource are to...
...use current educational research to help bridge the research/implementation gap.
...strategically organize resources targeting Math Running Record-informed “growth zones,” (Newton, 2016) that help all learners work on the “edge of their abilities.” (Coyle, 2010).
...recognize and celebrate student strengths and growth (rejecting deficit thinking).
...present culturally responsive tasks (helping students connect in ways authentic to them).
...embed growth mindset research and beliefs throughout, presuming the competence (Biklen & Burke, 2006) of all learners.
Why? To translate educational research into an actionable resource.
Educators and parents do not always know how to help students who are struggling with number sense and fact fluency. Sometimes, this means that ineffective strategies (devoid of research-backing, but readily available and independently accessible), are used to address their apparent “gaps.” Some learners can withstand procedurally-based instruction, finding a way to “make sense” or relying, in part, on memorization. However, our most vulnerable learners require an intentional approach that focuses on conceptual understandings and repeated and meaningful practice.
“Growth-oriented” educators who…
Understand the importance of presuming competence, believing that students are capable and that brains can grow when deeply practicing engaging and conceptually-based math.
Aim to provide engaging, but cognitively demanding experiences (refusing busy work).
Recognize the power of their beliefs about students (reflecting upon how implicit bias can influence decisions about students and their progress).
Work to clear their minds of “can’t,” while nurturing an environment where students can choose to clear their own minds of “can’t,” as well.
Examples of facilitators:
Math interventionists/resource teachers (working with students on IEPs or with LDs)
Parents or community members
All learners (grades 1-6 students, who are working toward building automaticity with addition, subtraction, multiplication or division facts).
Students who have been diagnosed with a learning difference.
Students being considered for an Individual Education Plan (IEP), or who are already working on IEP goals.
In-class support through whole-class tasks or guided math groups.
During a scheduled intervention/resource time (preferably embedded as “co-teaching” within a classroom), or with an educational assistant.
After-school by community members/volunteers or with parents/siblings at the dinner table.
Inside: some activities are best done in class (using manipulatives and paper and pencil).
Outside: whenever possible, activities can be enriched when done in nature or on a school playground. If recording is required, pavement and chalk could be used, for example.
How? If implementing with one student (or a small group), it is suggested to proceed in the following way (some of these implementation ideas can also be scaled up for whole classroom use):
1-Circle up: Begin by getting to know each child. Listen. Connect. Chat with them, play a game, go for a walk (if appropriate), or show them pictures/items that are meaningful to you. Ask the child to bring in some items to share with you, as well (to help get to know each other, or to use throughout some of the math activities).
2-Reach out: Connect with the child’s community. Where is math showing up in their everyday lives? Are there any parents/community members that could team up, as the child progresses through goal-setting and goal-reaching. What ideas do they have?
3-Assess: Use a math running record (often starting with addition) to determine, with the child, their “growth zone.” Discuss the helpful strategies they are using, and write down a growth goal (if possible, one that corresponds with the pre-determined zones). It may also be appropriate to use one of the math reflection/growth mindset surveys, documenting a “snapshot” of their math disposition and growth mindset beliefs, before beginning.
4-Act on it/Reflect:
Math: Once a “growth zone” has been isolated, the child can begin playing games/tasks within that zone (and a few before and after it). This would be a good time to embrace community-school partnerships. Are there school or community members that could reinforce these tasks throughout the child’s day (with a focus on engagement and growth)? Resist simply “teaching” strategies, as this can lead to children viewing mathematics as a series of rules. Help the child have fun playing open-ended as well as strategic games that lend themselves to the strategy focus.
Growth Mindset: Embed growth mindset language throughout the tasks. Have the child frequently reflect upon their learning, filling in their “Myelination Map,” and “Fact Fluency Progress Chart.” It would be ideal to have the child participate in a targeted growth mindset intervention, such as GEM or Brainology (“Growing Lifelong Learners,” 2017) at the same time as their math intervention. If the activities need to take place during a math intervention block, think about renaming/reframing this space to be more growth-focused. Reflect upon routines, ensuring that the messages given are growth-based, helping children realize that their strategic practice is building the neurons in their brain.
5-Celebrate: When the child has made significant progress or is in need of a new “growth zone,” discuss with the child how to best celebrate their progress. This is another great opportunity to connect with their home, finding an authentic way to honour their growth. Have the child decorate the “growth zone” on their “Myelination Map” and discuss next steps.
6-Repeat: A next step for the child is most likely already evident from informal observations and notes throughout the previous tasks. It is best to avoid unnecessary formalized assessments, but if a new running record is required (looking for a new “growth zone” within the same operation or different), one could be conducted now. Then, more games and tasks associated with the child’s new “growth zone,” could be played.
This resource pulls from a variety of current educational research articles and books, such as:
Jo Boaler's work
Dr. Nicki Newton's running records and activities
Dan Coyle's, The Talent Code
Carol Dweck's mindset research
Andrew Gael's presentations on "presuming competence"
Tracy Zager's book, Becoming the Math Teacher You Wish You'd Had
Lisa Lunney Borden's work with culturally relevant pedagoy
Iuculano, T. et al.'s study on neuroplasticity and math disabilities
Lewis, K., & Lynn, D's 2018 study on dyscalculia
ADDITION FACT FLUENCY GROWTH ZONES
A0 = adding 0
A1 = adding 1
Aw5 = adding within 5
Aw10 = adding within 10
Am10 = making 10
A10 = adding 10 to a #
AD = adding doubles
AD1 = adding doubles + 1
AD2 = adding doubles + 2
AHF = higher facts
AC = adding by compensating
Violet: Mixed facts (working to consolidate all strategies)
Please note: this resource is simply the YELLOW and GREEN growth zones, within Addition. There are 7 levels, which can be purchased together or separately. Please purchase this resource if you are looking for support at this growth zone.
CURRENTLY, ONLY THE RED, ORANGE, YELLOW, and GREEN zones are AVAILABLE. Other zones will be uploaded soon.
Upon purchase, you will get access to a PDF with a Google link that will allow you to copy all the files. These include: an implementation guide, assessments (addition running records, a growth mindset Google Form, and a math reflection Google Form), myelination map (to track progress), addition fact fluency progress chart, math interventionist incentives/resources connected to the BrainFit theme, and 17 unique targeted tasks (including fact fluency cards and reproducibles), with 5 more tasks repeated from the RED/ORANGE growth zone.