Multiplication Timed Test 0-10

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Objective

Students will be able to demonstrate their speed and accuracy with multiplication facts 0-12.

Big Idea

Fluent, accurate multiplication of multi-digit whole numbers is a fundamental skill for accessing 5th grade content standards.

Introduction

2 minutes

Inclusion Question:

What strategy do you use to increase your number of completed problems on a timed test?

Inclusion is a way to get students brains to think about the next lesson/activity in a personal way, it is also a way to positively gain influence. 

Before I pass out the timed multiplication test, I ask the inclusion question and while students are talking I pass out the test.  This gives me a chance to walk around and listen to the students discussion and once again "see/hear their mathematical thinking."

Before my students take their test you will see some start to trace an infinity symbol in the air at eye level with their writing hand.  I started this years ago and since I have a multiage classroom of 4th and 5th graders, my cycling 5th graders continue to do this without me teaching it.  I do have to explain to the 4th graders that this is to cross from one hemisphere of the brain to the other, crossing the body's center line.  This wakes up both sides of their brain and gets it ready to show what it knows.  I originally found this in a resource called Brain Gym that I would like to get back to using more. It links body movement to learning.

Narrative

25 minutes

I give my students a double sided (100 problems each side) 0-12 basic fact test.  They have 5 minutes to complete as many problems as they can.  To ensure a fair comparison, I always use the same test because I am looking for speed as well as accuracy.  If a student completes the 200 problems they will ask for another page to challenge their speed.  My goal with the students is for them to increase their speed each time we take the test and to maintain accuracy - not to make any mistakes. 

When the time is up on the test I have the students count how many problems they have completed and use it as the denominator in the score box.

The "Math Timed Test Grader" (a student) stands up in front of the class and reads the problems and answers, generally using their own test.  If there is a mistake, a student or students will politely raise their hands to let the student know a mistake has been made.  This is a big discussion we have at the beginning of the year and I always have my first "Math Timed Test Grader" be a strong math student and a patient role model. 

Students grade their own papers, but they must use a pen, marker, crayon or anything that cannot be erased.  They also must put away their pencils before the Math Timed Test Grader begins. When the grader has read all the answers, students count all the problems they completed correctly and write this as the numerator in the score box. I have the students record their scores on a timed test score sheet.  I use a different score sheet for each of the operations because it turns into a graph of their increasing speed with the times tables.   

Students then read their scores to me, so I can record them.  This promotes an atmosphere of trust and caring in my classroom. When a students has low scores, typically another student will congratulate them when the scores increase.  Students are not required to say their scores out loud, they can come up to me after I have called their name and whisper the scores to me.  The most interesting thing I've found is that the person who whispers their scores to me is not the lower scoring students but the higher ones. 

While I am writing the scores, I comment to the students when they have an increase in their score.  When a student score stays the same or has gone backwards, a typical response from them is - "I've hit a plateau but will increase the next time!"  This is because I coach students before the first test so that they have a better understanding of how people learn.  I use examples from when I took typing in high school.  Sometimes my speed increased, sometimes it stayed the same and sometimes I went slower.  I tell my students that this is because my brain was getting prepared to jump ahead. 

I randomly collect some of the the tests to check for accuracy in the students' self reporting of their scores.  This is another opportunity to develop students as truthful and trustworthy human beings.  I see timed tests as an opportunity to assess my students skills but also as a character building activity. 

Because I give my students a timed test nearly every week, I do not have a student retake the test if they missed one.  You can see this on my record sheet. I highlight students scores that are under 100 problems completed correctly in 5 minutes.  The pink dots are my 5th grade students, I also have 4th graders in my multiage class. 

I also note on the record sheet why the test was not taken, the blank ones are papers with no names and I address this with the individual student about labeling and keeping track of their papers.  We use a standards based report card and have a  section called "Characteristics that Support Learning." This section is a place to address behavior and attendance separately from academics. 

Student Wrap Up

5 minutes

After the test, particularly the first few times we take a timed test, I refer back to the inclusion question. 

What strategy do you use to increase your number of completed problems on a timed test?

I ask the students to consider this as they discuss the answers to the following questions.  

1.  What did you learn about taking a timed test today?

2.  Did another students strategy help you?

3.  Did you find a strategy that worked successfully for you to increase your score? 

I have a few choices for how I gather up these student reflections, and I use them strategically. A whole class setting can be a powerful way to celebrate growth. Groups can be used in a variety of ways. I can mix the students heterogeneously, so that they can learn more efficient strategies by hearing about them from their peers. Or, I can group students homogeneously, so that 4th and 5th graders can be working within their own grade level, or so that I can use the time to target a group for extension, to derive more information about their learning, or for quick "fixes". And finally, students can provide reflection individually by writing in their Journals. Writing in math is an important skill. In order to explain their thinking in writing, students have to "check it" internally first.