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 ;)

This week my MONKEY MATH and MONKEY MATH 2 will be FREE

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.

## 26 comments:

Well, in my 30 years of teaching I have see sawed back and forth on the math time test. Like you said, any math guru will TRY to convince you not to use them, but how do you check if they know them is always my question. So with that said I have tried Rocket Math, Mad Minute, and just plain old time test twice a week. I don't know what the answer is, but I do know that the kids never seem to have them when they go on to 3rd grade. I think what we are lacking in is the number sense they need to be able to retain these facts. Hopefully someone will have a great idea!!

I use rocket math in my classroom and believe it in wholeheartedly! Timed math fact practice is critical in 2nd grade in order to meet the common core objective of having the basic math facts memorized by the end of 2nd grade. I saw HUGE improvements in my students when I started using rocket math 2 years ago... PIG sounds very similar. However, I found that practicing at home is hugely important, and had some students who never practiced, and therefore never even passed off the addition facts the ENTIRE year :(

Yes Ido from a parent side and teacher side! Why would we build literacy fluency and not math fluency??

Love your blogging as usual! :)

Chelsea

Cloneal1973@gmail.com

We play Around the World during spare time and I have used "Mad Minute" tests. Pig Math looks so much easier to organize and user/kid friendly!

arusso@culpeperschools.org

We use Singapore Math and we do timed math as part of our mental math. We introduce a couple of addition and subtraction strategies to aid in this process and make sure the kids attain mastery at the end of a specific term.

cheriemae@gmail.com

Yes, I think kids need to learn the math facts. It will help them be more fluent in math. I would love your PIG unit. Sounds like fun! Renetowens@sbcglobal.net

We've always done timed tests, but we struggle with how to prepare the students for math fluency. Math Games are always a big hit in our classroom, and we try to focus on using strategies, like Doubles + 1 or Making 10, to help build math fluency.

I am definitely going to check out your one-page math games book!

Julia Martel

julia.r.martel@gmail.com

I have tried several things over the year and haven't really been happy with any of them. I do believe children need to know their math facts quickly and don't think timed tests hurt them. I love your PIG Math ~ it provides a system and structure for accomplishing this task. Would love to win. Thank you,

Maria

First Grade Carouselfirstgradecarousel@gmail.com

PIG Math- love the name! I call my Speedy Facts- my students do addition, subtraction and this year multiplication and division-I'll be teaching Multi-age 2-3. Yes, I do support math fact timed tests-but also stress individual growth, strategies to know facts, and encourage students to set their own goals with each page.

SMILES!! rwenzel@netnet.net

My 2nd grade teammates and I started using a free, online website. It is called www.xtramath.org. It is awesome :) It gives the students a placement test and then it has the students practice the facts that they still need to learn. Once they pass, addition then they move on to subtraction and so forth. Students can do it in class or at home. I would definitely recommend checking it out!

I am going back to teaching second grade after 13 years in kindergarten! I did used timed tests to help my second graders master basic math facts in the past. In fact, I used timed tests with my own children when I felt they weren't getting enough practice when they were in elementary school! Thanks for your blog, as you are giving me great ideas as I plan to switch gears back to second grade.

I do. I think learning math facts is the equivalent of learning sight words in reading. It must be done. In the past, I've had the enrichment math group (1st grade) and even they weren't great with their facts. I send home weekly fact practice games for the families to play and also encourage them to use Xtra Math- works for many but some have issues with it. This year I'm taking on our most deliberate learners in math. Pig math looks like it will be perfect with this group. Adding this to my wishlist for sure. Thanks for the freebies!

Eek...I do a weekly timed test. It is a basic time table, but the numbers are mixed up AND you cannot 'pick and choose' rows. (Otherwise, the harder facts would never get worked!)

Going to bookmark and read everyone's comments to see what to do this fall, that's for sure!

tokyoshoes at hotmail dot com

I COMPLETELY believe in having kiddos memorize their math facts....no question! We did bubblegum math this past year with my 2nd graders and they loved it!

~Wendy

sdwd727@gmail.com

I have not done timed tests in my classroom, but it is something I have considered. Our Math Lab teacher did timed tests last year with all the grade levels, and she used a program on the computer to track student progress. I think she used a program called Math Magician. The kids could practice at home, but they had to actually pass the test at school in the Math Lab. It was an interesting way of doing it, but a LOT of work on her part. I don't know if I would want to do something like that, to reduce paper, or have paper tests. The nice thing about paper tests is that all students could do them at the same time. I like the idea of having some students do multiplication tables, if they pass the other tests, but I am concerned about teaching them multiplication unless they are able to use their addition facts to solve 2 digit problems. I guess that is something I will have to work out for myself!!!

Erica

Blooming In First

We do timed math tests in my first grade class. I DO believe in having kids memorize their facts, but I think it's most effective when there's a low stress/fun/systematic way of doing the timed tests and documenting progress. That's why I LOVE piggie math. I can't even remember where I heard about it- it's been a while. When I announce "piggie math time" my kids are allowed to make as many piggie noises as they can for about 15 seconds- it makes them laugh and I think it helps with test anxiety. I don't like the way that I pass out papers- too time consuming so I'm looking for a more efficient way. After grading, I recognize all kids who beat their previous score...this way, even if a child didn't progress on to next level they feel success.

Kim

kdh423@aol.com

I am going into my second year teaching second and I am planning on doing timed tests this year. My kids last year were really lacking in knowing their basic facts! PIG math looks like a great system!

kmemiller@gmail.com

Yes, I believe timed tests are important for their math fluency. Pig Math looks great! Thank you for your wonderful ideas. :)

i use worksheets from dadsworksheets.com and call them bubble gum tests. 40 correct in 5 minutes earns them gum. wish i had something else. PIG math seems great. hoping i win. repete_21@yahoo.com

I have used timed tests for the last 5 years with huge success. The children compete against themselves. I have a poster chart with all of the students' names and a place for the date of the test. After the test we swap papers and together the whole class reads each problem and answer. The students mark an incorrect answer with an X. Papers are then taken up. I take the papers to the chart and write how many each student got correct. The whole class cheers whether the student increases his/her total or not. Sometimes there are treats involved for instance if the whole class increases their total. There could be sticks with numbers (up to the total amount of students, pull a stick, if that amouont of students increased their total, give treats to everyone. This way students are encouraging each other. I love using the timed tests.

Beverly Vercelli

This will be my second year of teaching 2nd grade. Last year most of my students really struggled with basic math facts and counted on their fingers like crazy!! I am interested in trying Pig math to see if I can help them improve their math fluency.

Emily

emilyamoore@hotmail.com

I totally believe in kids needing to memorize math facts and being held accountable for knowing them with fact drills.

Kristi

scrapmoose at gmail dotcom

I normally do a weekly timed test, but this year I am teaching an advanced class, so I need to step it up a bit. I want to use a computer program that my school uses, and PIG would be awesome to add! melindacasas@gmail.com

I believe in memorizing mathfacts. I try to take a few minutes a day to practice with my class. We often use a ball. I ask a question, throw a ball and the one who catches it has to answer the question. Your Pig Math sounds great! I would love to try it!

maisymuis@gmail.com

Thanks Lory!!! I can't wait to use this packet this year!

Our system uses Everyday Math, which doesn't stress memorization of facts. We play lots of fact centered games though, that helps a lot. Pig Math sounds like fun. :)

scrambledhenfruit(at)gmail(dot)com

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