Math fact fluency is the ability to quickly recall basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division facts accurately and effortlessly.
Extensive research underscores the critical role of fact fluency in elementary school math and beyond; it allows students to free up brainpower or working memory to complete more complex math, such as word problems or multi-step equations. Multiplication fluency is also shown to impact success with fractions, and retrieval speed is a known predictor of success on standardized tests, math concept problems, data interpretation, and mathematical reasoning.
How can you support math fact fluency growth with school-wide initiatives? Here are eight ideas to try.
Build a Positive Math Culture in Your School
math environment that encourages students to become math fact fluent. As an administrator, help your staff design classrooms and learning environments where students feel safe to take math risks, get the “wrong” answer, think critically, and ask questions about the “why” behind problems and solutions. Teachers can emphasize how math connects to the real world and incorporate frequent math discourse. You and your staff can openly and frequently discuss math data to measure growth.
Use Adaptive Math Fact Fluency Technology
Technology can help students master basic math facts at their own pace. Digital solutions also allow learners to receive individualized feedback and practice that teachers simply can’t provide to 25 students simultaneously. Programs like
ExploreLearning Reflex help students build math fact fluency through engaging, adaptive games.
Get Teachers Onboard
Math fact success relies on teacher and grade-level commitment. Emphasize the
importance of math with your staff to help them understand why building fact fluency school-wide is so crucial. Provide teachers with tools and best practices to build fact fluency to streamline processes and reduce extra planning time. When teachers feel supported, they will be more excited and inclined to implement a new resource with their students. Reflex offers on-demand professional development, teacher and administrator guides, data reporting, and virtual learning communities to support teachers in building math fact fluency.
Create Bulletin Boards
Visual displays are a great way to celebrate school-wide success and spotlight class and school milestones. Use
bulletin boards to highlight student progress toward math fact fluency and Reflex usage. These representations also build campus excitement and promote usage. Bulletin boards can track individual and classroom milestones like new fluent math facts, total facts solved, fluency levels, and growth percentages.
School and District-Wide Competitions
To help promote Reflex usage, schools and
districts often encourage classrooms to participate in Reflex challenges. These competitions usually have a specific date range, category, and prize for the champions. The most popular challenge categories are Greatest Daily Usage, Greatest Green Light Percentage, Greatest New Fluent Facts, and Greatest Total Facts Solved. See how administrators and teachers in Fresno Unified School District use challenges to motivate their students.
Many teachers find that incentives help increase and motivate student usage. Reflex provides teachers with student milestone certificates to print and send home or post on bulletin boards. Others award students
brag tag keychains for fact fluency milestones. Teachers can also throw celebration parties for class-wide goals.
Local companies often partner with schools or districts and occasionally supply coupons for ice cream cones or other sweet treats. Some teachers collect inexpensive prizes in a prize box to give to students when they reach their addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division goals.
Districts and schools can use social media to celebrate student fact fluency achievement. Ideas include posting photos of students holding their milestone certificates, standing next to a classroom or school bulletin board, or showing off their progress on the computer. You can also spread the word about fact fluency challenges on social media to promote practice over summer or winter break. Social media can also help raise fact fluency awareness among families.
Get the Green Light
Using Reflex, students work to achieve their daily
Green Light goals. The Green Light, located in the upper right corner of the screen, illuminates once a student answers a certain number of facts correctly, indicating the completion of a good day’s work of math fact fluency practice. Promote school and classroom Green Light success with Green Light trackers, bulletin boards, and celebrations.
Start building and celebrating school-wide math fact fluency with Reflex!
Give students 2-5 the foundation they need to succeed at math.
And don’t forget about
ExploreLearning Frax for fractions. Two of the biggest challenges in elementary math are also the strongest predictors of future mathematics achievement: math fact fluency and fractions. New research conducted by ExploreLearning found that elementary students using Reflex (for math facts) and Frax (for fractions) made significantly larger academic gains in math compared to non-users, with the most academically at-risk experiencing the greatest gains.
Help students 3-5 build deep conceptual fractions understanding.