Texas Mathematics Teacher Spring/Summer 2022 - 19

Fact Fluency and Young Mathematicians: One Campus's Journey
Maria Gonzalez
" Fluency doesn't just happen! It is a well-planned journey "
(Newton, 2016, p.3). Fact fluency has always been a " hot
topic " in conversations with teachers and administrators.
When I reflect on my own experiences as a classroom
teacher, I recall the challenges that my students' lack of
proficiency with mathematics facts posed to their success
in mathematics. I recall using " timed tests " in hopes of
promoting my students' proficiency with mathematics
facts, but instead I saw students continue to struggle
in their development of fact fluency and I realized that
the methods I was using were not working. When I
stepped into the role of a Mathematics Campus Coach, I
realized that these challenges were occurring in multiple
grade levels and that developing students' fluency with
mathematics facts must involve something more than
just memorizing facts. We needed a different plan. It was
about that time that Dr. Nicki Newton (2016) published
the book Math Running Records in Action: A Framework for
Assessing Basic Fact Fluency in Grades K-5, a book that drew
attention to the notion that fact fluency is not just about
the memorization of facts but about our students' use of
strategies and vocabulary to promote the retention and
application of mathematics facts. It was shortly thereafter
that our campus's journey to start and implement a
campus-wide fact fluency initiative began.
How Did We Get Started? (2019 - 2020)
Creating a campus-wide fact fluency initiative is no small
feat! There are many moving parts to bringing about and
facilitating change, and some of the steps I took are listed
below.
Step 1: Create a Schedule. Based on Newton (2016), we
created a plan with a specific time for daily fact fluency
practice. We also included the operation on which each
grade level would focus and a time frame for each grade
level's efforts (see Figure 1).
Step 2: Create Classroom Resources. To implement these
efforts, various resources needed to be created for teachers
Figure 2. Workstations for classroom use, and a
Teacher Data Binder.
For students, I created anchor charts with consistent,
step-by-step instructions regarding how to use the
strategy-based workstations (see Figure 3).
Figure 3. Anchor chart example.
Step 3: Create a Homework Component. To support
these efforts, we streamlined our homework practices
for fact fluency. For these efforts to be effective, students'
homework had to be individualized according to each
student's level of proficiency with individual numberbased
strategies. I created homework folders for each
student that had the school's mission statement and an
anchor chart with specific instructions so parents could
support their child's fact fluency practice.
Figure 1. Schedule for daily fact fluency practice.
and for students. For teachers, I created strategy-based
workstations that could be used in the classroom during
the daily fact fluency time (see Figure 2). I also created
Teacher Data Binders to assist in the monitoring of each
student's progress, including the implementation of small
group instruction and running records (see Figure 2).
Step 4: Meet with Campus Administrators. With all
these resources in place, it was time to meet with my
campus's administrators. We met and discussed the plan
for implementing a campus wide fact fluency initiative as
well as the proposed refinements to the campus schedule.
We examined the various resources that had been created
(strategy-based workstations, teacher data binders,
homework folders) and discussed the next steps for
implementation.
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Texas Mathematics Teacher Spring/Summer 2022

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