Do kids really need to memorize their math facts?

I believe that it is extremely important for young students to memorize their basic math facts in order to become successful mathematicians.

Last summer the math guru of our district stated that requiring students to memorize math facts and completing timed test was a waste of time. She went on for quite awhile enough for me to think..."Okay, maybe I've' has been devastating my students for the past 18 years... maybe I have scarred them for life and they will never embrace mathematics!" I didn't really believe this ( my students LOVE Pig Math and never fussed about it... only on the rare days we DIDN'T do it). I wanted to follow the district guidelines and see if I truly could try something different to better my instruction for my students.

My teammates and I (all of which do PIG Math) took down our boards and never introduced the system to the students. Not long into the school year we commented to each other that our students were lacking in basic addition and subtraction facts. There facts were NOT instantaneous, we saw more fingers + fingers than ever before. We discussed and studied number bonds, use mountains of manipulatives etc... but, we missed PIG Math!

I created PIG Math many, many years ago and have used it in my class each year.

It's quick and individualized for all levels.

I start PIG Math the first week of school.

I usually expect my students to write in their best handwriting on their assignments, however on PIG Math, they can be little piglets ;) They are writing as fast as they can... so I don't expect the greatest penmanship, however, I MUST be able to read the number ;)

Hence the name PIG Math!!

Pig Math takes 30 seconds to complete.

The dialogue for Pig Math is quick and simple also. It goes something like this...

"Pig pencils in the air." (this helps me see that everyone is ready)...

"Go Pig Writers!!" ... set the timer for 30 seconds... "STOP!"

"Pig Pencils in the air... honesty counts!"

"Drop your pencil to the ground, pass your paper to your table leader... let's hand them in!" "Please pick up your pencil."

I correct the papers daily. If they get 100% (or all 12 correct) I draw a star on their paper, move their magnet on the progress chart, and place their paper on their desk first thing in the morning. That way they know that they have passed that particular quiz and have permission to pick up the next PIG Math quiz for that day.
My kids are all on different quizzes and it's not a problem.

Math fact timed test can be individualized without being a pain for the teacher.

I don't like to hold the whole class back because a few students don't have them mastered yet. When I have a few extra minutes during the day, I can use the flashcards or manipulatives to help these kiddos on their specific Pig Math quiz they are on.

(I sent this to the print shop and had them enlarge it)

My requirements for each term are:

**Term 1** - +0, +1, +2, +3, +4, +5, 1R

**Term 2** - -0, -1, -2, -3, -4, -5, 2R

**Term 3** - +6, +7, +8, +9, +10, +11, 3R

**Term 4** - -6, -7, -8, -9, -10, -11, 4R

I have included multiplication and division in the file also for those kids that go over and above the basic addition and subtraction facts.

I also love to have the kiddos play games with opportunities to learn their facts without even realizing it :) Practice, practice, practice ;) I really believe it too... enough to publish a book of math games ;)

if you need a couple game boards for your classroom!!

Do you believe in math fact timed test? If so, how do you accomplish this task in your classroom!! Please share and leave your email address.

I'll draw 3 names to receive my PIG MATH file on Friday.