Daily differentiated math fact practice for quick recall

Retention and quick recall of math facts is often elusive to to us elementary school teachers, me included.  It's hard to find the magic bullet that will get kids to know addition, subtraction, multiplication and division facts well enough to quickly and efficiently use them in other math disciplines.  

For the last several years, I had a once-a-week quick recall math fact quiz.  It was differentiated - students moved onto the next level once they got 100% on a test.  Everyone started with addition, and some second graders were on division by the end of the year.  I liked to move-at-your-own pace system, since it allowed the kids who struggled with facts to spend extended time on certain areas, and it let the kids who already knew their addition and subtraction facts well to move on.  The weekly tests were about 30 questions, for three minutes.  We called it "Superhero Math" because the kids gave themselves "super-secret superhero names" that were displayed (anonymously) with their scores in the classroom:

This year, I'm changing to a daily format.  The quizzes are 9 problems each, and students are given a minute to get through what they can.  

Like the last system, students will correct their own papers.  (I have a strict "no regular pencils out during correction time" policy to prevent students changing scores - they correct with any markers, crayons, or colored pencils, but regular pencils must be put away.  The kids know that any changed answers result in automatic zeros on the day's test.)  I kept the correction sheets in folders for the kids - 2 copies of each test, color coded (mostly to avoid students accidentally correcting the correction sheet - it happened!) and also for quick access when looking the correction sheet for their own tests.

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I got a bunch of coupon holders at a dollar store, and stapled them to make smaller pockets for storage.  My goal is to work with the kids to the point where they find their own tests when they  enter the room in the morning and ready themselves for the test.

My colleague, Carol, has her daily tests set up in color coded, set specific pockets.  This is a brilliant idea!  (Sorry I went in your classroom, Carol.  I was sneaking a peek at your setup so far!)

I'm a big believer in the kids correcting their own tests, since they'll be more apt to notice their own errors and internalize solutions for solving tricky problems.  I printed off the answers to all 180 tests - 4 to a side of paper, 8 to a sheet of paper, and put them in binders for each table to use - 23 total pieces of paper.  (I have the answer sheets arranged in two ways in my TpT packet - a single test to a page, and four tests to a page.)  The kids will have to share the sheets/take turns, but hey - I'll never turn down a lesson in patience/cooperation.

Students will keep track of their own scores, on 30-day score sheets, stored in plastic sheet covers and kept in the bags at their seats.

Will shorter daily practice be better for my students than the longer weekly practice from years past?  I'll get back to you in June!

If you're interested, I have the daily math fact test system for sale at my TpT store.  I assembled the old, weekly version from a random math resource book.



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