Prior to beginning this lesson, I have the students play the Write A Different Fact Game. The focus of this game is to have students practice building math fact fluency throughout the school year. This game allows the students practice fluency without using a timed test. In this game each table is assigned a specific factor, and the object of the game is to write and solve correctly, a different fact from everyone else in the group. For example in a group of four students using a factor of six, the math facts could be:
6 x 1 = 6
6 x 4 = 24
3 x 6 = 18
5 x 6 = 30.
If two students wrote 4 x 6 = 24 and 6 x 4 = 24, both of these students would be out because they wrote related facts.
This rapid-paced game is played frequently in my class, and one the students enjoy. It uses individual whiteboards, but could also be played with slips of scratch paper as well.
Day 1 - I set up stations using some of the resources provided by our school and state for the high-stakes yearly testing of students. I copy one assessment per student, and cut apart the questions. This particular day focuses on multiplication questions including area, arrays, distributive property, and word problems.
Each station has a different question. Working in teams of three or four, each group travels to a station to solve that problem. Students work independently, and submit their slip of paper into a small basket at the station. Each student has a recording sheet to record their answer for each problem. Because our state testing uses multiple choice answers and bubbles, their recording sheet is a bubble sheet. This sheet can be scanned for grading and to check their scores through Mastery Connect. This program will check up to ten questions for free. Another easy way to check bubble sheets is to create a master sheet, using a one-hole punch to punch out the correct choices. Then placing it over a student assessment, you can use a highlighter or colored pencil to show which are correct. Slightly different way to look at an assessment, but it is fast and easy to do.
Day 2 - During the second day of this lesson, I present new questions at each station. I also include more practice on specific questions based on the student responses from the previous day. This is also the day that I include more complex problems with multiplication including area, or questions that may include more than one domain such as measurement and data along with multiplication. It is the use of assessment from Day 1 to guide instruction that is key for the second day. The time the students spend in review is used purposefully rather than as a time filler. The process for setting up stations remains the same as Day 1.
Students are given approximately 5 minutes at each station to complete the problem. I have six questions for each day. As students solve, they carry with them a whiteboard or clipboard to work on the problem individually. I also have the students write their answers on the back of the problem to assist with their explanations during our share at the close.
Encourage students to discuss strategies, share models, and explain their solution. If someone gets stuck, the other team members are allowed to assist.
We close with a share, during which all students are expected to participate and to demonstrate as well as "tell" their solution. They can use drawings or representations to help explain their thinking.
I randomly pull a slip from each basket, the student pulled presents the problem and explains their solution. The class together determines if this is the correct answer. This critique of the reasoning of others is Mathematical Practice 3.
Students check their response sheet with crayons rather than pencils. This grading information is only for their own knowledge, and not for any type of grading. I do scan and review their scores to determine which areas will need more practice prior to the testing week.