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  • Jason Garner

    June 28, 2020 at 1:46 pm

    I have taught for 12 years. During my first handful of years teaching 4th grade, I was caught up in the “traditional” ways of teaching math facts by having students take timed facts practice EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. It took a few years, but I soon realized what I already knew, which is that some kids memorized them and did these easily, while others struggled to memorize them. Many even had anxiety over these timed facts. I don’t really remember too much about my math facts instruction that I received as a student in elementary school, but I know that I did not have an understanding of why the multiplication worked. I started realizing that my students deserved better from me. However, every year, I still hear fellow teachers blame so much on students not “memorizing” or “knowing” their math facts. Now that I teach 5th grade, I do not emphasize memorizing math facts. However, I do find that students who struggle to understand their facts often do struggle with other skills/concepts. I love the idea of giving students opportunities to learn math facts in a conceptual way. My concern with this is that students are not usually receiving this type of instruction prior to entering 5th grade. They do not have anything to build on. I like the idea of conducting number talks, and would love to find out more resources on how to do so. We also cannot focus on rewarding students for memorizing their math facts without having a deeper understanding of how they work. I’d love to learn some ideas on how to approach this topic in 5th grade, since by that level students do need a solid understanding of their facts.