We are still pretty early in our Math Expressions series, having completed a total of three lessons to date. So, obviously, everything we do is still new. Today was something that was new while also being something familiar, because it is very similar to the type of math work that my students have done in the past. It is called a Fluency Day, and it is an opportunity for students to measure their ease with recalling fundamental facts in multiplication and division. (What’s funny is that I am actually pretty close to on pace with how we started last year. I wrote about our first Fluency Day on September 19.)
Fluency Days are pretty simple to do. The students had a total of 72 problems, divided into groups of 18. The first 36 problems were multiplication facts, then the last 36 problems were division. I gave the class three minutes as a warm up for the first set, then just one minute for the next three sets. (This was also a preview for the new one-minute limit for the Mr. Martini’s Classroom quizzes we do each week in the Computer Lab.) I was impressed with how many students were able to complete all of the problems within the time given but, more importantly, they were impressed with how well they did!
After going over the answers to the fluency problems, the students were given time to cut out flashcards that they will be able to keep at school or take home to continue practicing. Then they finished up the math period by practicing with one another. Again, they were able to see their growth through increased recall speed of these fundamental facts.
And that’s the goal of Fluency Days. It lets the students see the progress they are making and it helps them build confidence in their computational fluency. We will be working on comprehension, as well, in the coming weeks, but I feel like we are off to a great start!