Jamie and Julie taught 4th-grade math together at the same school. Together they have over 40 years of classroom experience. When they discussed the struggles they faced teaching math, there was a common denominator! The students who were not fluent in their math facts faced extreme difficulties. Math fluency frees up brain space for critical thinking and problem-solving. The expectations and standards in upper elementary math require math fact fluency in order to do operations with fractions and larger numbers. Students get frustrated and just want to give up. So, Jamie and Julie decided to dedicate the first 10-15 minutes of every math class to focus on math facts.
The growth and confidence they saw in their students was inspiring. Students who once struggled were suddenly the ones raising their hands excitedly to answer questions. A positive classroom climate resulted in improved test scores. Students who were seeing the value in knowing their math facts became advocates for the program and encouraged their classmates to pass steps.