Sunday, November 27, 2016

6 Steps to Building Math Fact Fluency

6 Steps to Building Math Fact Fluency

Why is basic fact mastery and memorization so essential for students in younger grades? If you have taught upper elementary or beyond you are probably familiar with a few students who's lack of basic fact mastery slows them down when they are working with bigger numbers or with more difficult concepts like algebra. Often these students make so many simple errors they rarely arrive at a correct answer. The issue is that without automaticity or fact fluency, they fall further behind as it takes them longer to get to their answers. You might see students still using tally marks or drawing out arrays to get their answers when there simply isn't time. After teaching elementary students for over 15 years, with the majority of my time spent in third grade,  I have figured out a couple of tried and true ways to help my students master their facts.

1) Use fact families to build number relationships.

After you have made sure that your students have foundational skills such as understanding visual representations of number sentences through drawings, arrays, part/part whole and the use of hands-on manipulatives it's time to teach number relationships. Use an anchor chart displaying how fact families work. Students can also draw a fact family house. Here is a link to a free fact family resource and you can find more via a simple Google search. When students learn a fact family, they also learn the inverse operation at the same time. Suddenly, learning subtraction after addition or division after multiplication doesn't seem so bad.

2) Have students practice their facts daily by using flash cards in the classroom and sending a set home for homework.

I use these triangle fact family flashcards in my classroom, and my students love them because they are holiday themed! Once printed on cardstock and laminated students get to use them in our math center or if they finish classwork early. Click the pics if you want to get these holiday themed fact family flash cards in multiplication and division. Since my kiddos need to learn their multiplication facts by the end of October and their division facts by the end of December, these work out great!!! I also send home plain, ink-friendly flashcards for use at home like these free ones I made long ago.

 Candy Corn Flash Cards        Christmas Tree Multiplication and DivisionFact Family Flashcards

3) Practice makes perfect goes a long way. Give students practice sheets in class and for homework. 

I use these practice sheets for multiplication and division in my classroom, but I also want to share with you an awesome, free facts practice resource from one of my favorite educators/presenters, Rick Morris.  These can also be used as quizzes if you choose.

4) Quiz students weekly on their facts.

Using the same resource pictured above, I give my students weekly quizzes, usually on Fridays once they have had the whole week to practice and study assigned facts. Students are welcome to take the quizzes over and over again until they pass them. The only thing I require is that they show they have done extra studying before they request to take a quiz again. See the next step below for how I track this.

5) Send home results of quizzes so parents know what facts their student needs to study more.
These are multiplication notes and division notes that I send home so that parents know which facts they didn't pass. Included with the note is another opportunity for students to practice their missed facts using See it, Say it, Write it. Yes, it's rote memorization or drill and kill, but recent research has shown that this old fashioned method is actually more effective than other tricks or memorization strategies taught. I know this technique definitely helped me in school.

6) Use games and rewards to motivate students to learn their facts.

In my class, I use as many different learning games as possible to reinforce skills taught. Not only that students love racing to name answers or missing numbers quickly. Besides playing bingo or using flashcards to do Math Around the World, I have found these games engage more students and keep them accountable for learning.You can check out my newly published Subtraction and Addition Fact Family Mastery Racing Game here or click the pic. You can play this game, as a whole class, or students can work alone or with partners to see how many facts they can name in one minute! A tracking sheet is included, and students are shown how to track their own progress after the game ends. The best part is that it only takes 5 minutes a day to play!

 Addition and Subtraction Fact Family Mastery Racing

I also have students earn an ice-cream sundae and a pizza party for each fact they learn. See this awesome product here or just click the pic. Each time a student passes a fact they get to color in part of their ice-cream sundae ticket!

 Ice Cream Multiplication Incentive

If you are interested in even more resources (free and paid) to help you teach math in your classroom check out my math resources category on TpT.

Now for the awesome TpT gift card giveaway with 12 winners chosen! (Sorry this giveaway has already ended)

Each blog in the hop will be choosing one winner for a $10 gift card with a total of $120 in prizes possible if you chose to enter every raffle. Also so don't forget to fill up your cart in advance of TpTs site-wide Cyber Sale at 28% off that will be this Monday and Tuesday from Nov. 28 thru 29th using code: CYBER2016 Don't forget that many sellers, myself included, will mark down any new products for an additional 50% off for the first 48 hours after publishing. Be sure to follow stores to be notified of these amazing deals.

Finally, please note that when you enter my Rafflecopter your email will automatically be added to my mailing list. I promise to keep your email private and will only use it to send out subscriber exclusive freebies, announce new resources, and future giveaways. I only send out about 6 newsletters a year as I'm just as busy as you are in the classroom. Thank you for participating! Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Please hop on over to Surfing to Success to view the next blog and for another chance at winning a $10 gift card!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Back to School Resources, Sale, and Giveaway!

I am so excited to share a few of my favorite resources that I am using to get my new school year under way, and they are on sale for one day only, on this coming Monday, August 22, 2016, with code: OneDay This sale is all about sharing our #bestresourcever so we help everyone have their #bestyearever this #bts2016 season! My entire store will be on sale tomorrow at 28% off with the code One Day. In addition to this awesome bonus sale, I've partnered with over 30 other awesome teacher-authors for a MEGA HUGE giveaway! Please enter the rafflecopter at the end of this post to have a chance at winning over $300 in prizes.

Last year I set out to revise some of my classroom resources, anchor charts, and posters. After teaching for 15 years I knew it was time for a small makeover. Some of my posters and charts looked dusty, tattered, and plain worn out, not mention some were created with just a couple of markers and cut out stars. I was also tired of looking at the same old activities and resources I was using, with some even illustrated by hand. I also found beautiful graphics and fonts to update my job chart, parent survey, first day of school survey, welcome banner, birthday chart, 5-star line poster, and other activities.  I hope these resources help you have the #bestfirstweekever like I did! Last week I got to meet my new third graders, and I'm feeling very lucky and blessed to get a break from extreme behaviors after experiencing an exhausting last year.

Welcome poster copyright (c) 2016 by Teacher Ms H Back to School Classroom Resource

Check out this before and after:

 5 star line

Easy Job Chart  by Teacher Ms H Personal Crest 

Here's a look at the whole bundle, sans two direction pages explaining how to glue sheets together to make a larger poster as there are actually 3 different sized posters for the Happy Birthday one and two different sizes for the 5 Star Line poster.

 Back to School Activity Pack

I have a new favorite resource to share with you, but first books. When I taught fourth grade a long time ago, my students had to respond to the quote of the day I wrote on the board, each morning when they came in. I think that inspiring quotes are really valuable for our older grade students as a source of motivation and character development. Not only did my students get writing practice we had awesome discussions centered around each quote's meaning. These are some great books I have used in my own classroom to share quotes.  I really like the first book because it is ordered by positive character traits while the second affiliate link is a great quote book for the classroom as it offers writing prompts and discussion ideas for quotes. Click on the pictures of these books to be taken to my Amazon affiliate links if you are interested in learning more about these books.

I am just in love with all things chalkboard and I now finally have all my favorite quotes in one place with a design I got to choose.  This year I used Scotch Sticky squares to affix my laminated posters to my classroom windows, as the tape I had used before for other posters and mini-anchor charts been near impossible to get off. What I like about these squares is that they make it easy to reposition the posters so that they are straight. There is nothing more annoying to me than something looking topsy-turvy in my classroom when it comes to decor and displays. If you are interested in trying these squares, Amazon has them via my affiliate link. However I can't vouch for their use on other surfaces or how long they will last,  but for now, they are doing the job, and they were way easier to use than rolling up the tape.  Since my classroom is on the second floor of our building and I have tons more wall space, I only use these windows to display posters and mini-anchor charts for my students to see. 

 Classroom Quotes Chalkboard Themed   Inspirational Classroom Quotes

Classroom Quote Posters

Inspirational Classroom Quotes

Finally for more back to school tips, check out 8 Back to School tips a post I wrote last season. You'll also want to make sure that you are following me on Instagram @teachermsh where I host monthly giveaways and by subscribing to my monthly newsletter for even more exclusive freebies and giveaway announcements. This month I'm sending out editable name plates and goodbye cards.

Many thanks to the Whimsical Teacher for helping to organize this great giveaway! 

To enter the MEGA Giveaway use the Rafflecopter below.  For an additional prize please subscribe to my email list and leave a blog comment with an item you would most like to win from my store! Don't forget to include your username before the @ (not the last website part) as it isn't a good idea to post your whole email publicly on the Internet due to spammer software. Using I will select a winner from the comments and will contact the winner via the email they submitted to my list. Thank you for participating!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*This post contains affiliate links which enable me to maintain this website. Thank you!

Monday, May 2, 2016

Teacher Appreciation Giveaway & FREEBIES Blog Hop

This week I'm joining up with my fave blog buddies to show some teacher appreciation and celebrate you!!! It's a week full of tips, tricks, freebies, and a fabulous giveaway!

Keep classroom projects and crafts as simple as possible!

One of my tips for the end of year is to keep everything simple as possible. I don't know about you but I'm exhausted by the end of April and then State Testing finishes me off. This leads to some really easy crafts I do every year, that don't break the bank or require a lot of time and materials to make.
Not only that students will be practicing following directions as they learn the Japanese art of paper folding known as Origami. All materials you most likely have on hand in your classroom but be sure that you have colored copy paper to print the templates on.

 First up is my Mother's Day Origami Flowers FREEBIE. Just click the pic to download this FREE product that includes step by step directions and folding templates from TpT. I hope your students enjoy this activity like mine do. I just want to caution you that the folds for this craft are a lot more complicated then the one I have pictured for Father's Day, so you will want to keep it in mind for upper elementary students and you'll need lots of patience to help them through the steps.

 Mother's Day Origami Flowers

Teacher Ms H on TpT

Next up I have a few of pics from my Father's Day Origami Shirt Card and Craft product that I just posted. Because I always post new products for 50% off the first 48 hours it will be on sale for over 75% off during TpT's awesome site wide sale this week on May 3rd &  4th and I've extended the original 50% off an extra day. You can wish list it now if you are still waiting for the sale to begin then remember to use the discount code: CELEBRATE when you are finally ready to check out. Also my entire store is on sale at 28% off with code!

This activity includes easier folds and is easily suitable for second graders. There are folding templates for the shirts and patterns to cut out ties and the sweater vest. Also as an added bonus I've included two pages of colorful patterned ties for cutting out in the product, in case you don't have scrapbook paper handy. Just click this first image to find this product in my store.

 Father's Day Origami Shirt Card Craft

 Father's Day Origami Shirt Craft Father's Day Origami Shirt Craft

If you read this far I just want to thank you for being a teacher who looks to others in our online teaching community for awesome ideas and resources that you might use to better your classroom.

Now for the BIG Giveaway! We are giving away three prizes to three different winners. We thought teachers might appreciate gift cards to TpT $50, Target $30, and Starbucks $15!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Finally, don't forget to click on the blog button below to continue to An Apple for the Teacher so you can hop on through and collect all the words you will need for the winning phrase!  At this stop the the secret word is:

 Classroom Clique Blog Hop

An Apple for the Teacher

Saturday, January 23, 2016

So Cal Winter Hop FREEBIES and Giveaway!

 Easy Teaching Tools

I am so excited to share with you a giveaway, FREEBIES, and some pictures from a California winter! Many thanks to Easy Teaching Tools for hosting this great hop and giveaway! 

My first picture is from a new shopping area along the Strand in Huntington Beach called Pacific City. I don't live very close to this area but I love to visit it every year since I love being at the beach!  I also love fashion so I thought I share a little about that too. Being comfortable and feeling stylish while teaching can happen and be affordable on a teacher budget! Another teacher-blogger was showing off this exact same sweater on Instagram, from Target so I just had to get one too! I absolutely love plaid and I've been so happy it is back in style so I can stock up.

I just love the Christmas themed mini Airstream I came across. 

This is the beach sunset right across from this shopping area. Isn't it beautiful? 

Finally, I wanted to share my one of my favorite things to wear for our mild Cali winters. I love jacket vests. I got this North Face down jacket several seasons ago at Nordstrom's semi annual sale. This vest pairs nicely with more casual tops like this Harajuku Lovers thermal that I found second hand on Since I love to travel I just had to have this top! What is great about living in LA is that you can find so much used, quality fashion in thrift and consignments stores, but if you don't have that option there are many online places like, Ebay and Postmark where you can get good deals too. I also have a light brown, wool and weaved vest from American Eagle, that I found second hand, so I can match it up with more outfits and brown boots. Since our mornings start out chilly and then most of our afternoons warm up to the high sixties I can still stay cool or just remove my vest. 

Studying Chinese New Year with my students has been a big hit in my classroom every year! Students love learning about their Chinese Zodiac Animal and all about the holiday traditions. I love being close to so many areas in So Cal that celebrate the Lunar holiday too! I also have some great video of Lions dancers that my students love viewing from this past blog post as well as more tips and books for sharing this holiday in your classroom. I hope you enjoy this CHINESE NEW YEAR FREEBIE!

 Chinese New Year Zodiac Calendar FREEBIE

 Chinese Animal Zodiac Calendar FREEBIE 

Just click the pic above to get to this FREEBIE which is a smaller sample from this pack below. 

 Chinese New Year Craft from Complete Holiday Pack

A picture of the yearly craft we do from this pack.

 Chinese New Year Complete Activity Pack

Thanks for reading and I wish you luck in our joint giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You'll also want to hop on over to The Rigorous Owl, and other bloggers participating for more older grade FREEBIES!

The Rigorous Owl

If you are looking for more Primary grade freebies for K-2 You will want to start over at the hostess with the most-est at Easy Teaching Tools!