How Can Basic Facts Mastery Fit Into My Current Curriculum?

How Basic Facts Mastery Can Fit Into Your Current Curriculum

Your curriculum, no matter which one you bought, probably provides at about 3rd grade level, instruction in basic facts. In addition, there probably are some built-in reviews spaced periodically throughout the year.

For some students, following the curriculum guidelines will be sufficient. But for many students, those facts won't stick or they won't become automatic enough to be recalled effortlessly.

Would it be feasible or reasonable to stop all other math instruction and keep hammering away at those facts until they finally sink in? Of course not. Yet you know how important basic facts mastery is if your learner is to excel in math.

Thankfully, it's easy to

  1. continue right along with your present curriculum and
  2. work on mastering basic facts at the same time

You can keep moving with instruction so that you keep pace with your schedule and still provide a small block of time focused specifically on developing fluency in basic facts.

Start With The Concept

Before starting to work on fluency in basic facts, be sure the concept of what multiplication and division are all about is completely understood. Doing that can be easy and fun.

Here is a ready-to-use lesson that develops that concept:  A Fun Way To Show The Multiplication and Division Relationship.

Developing concepts involves the WHY of learning.

Concepts are blocks of knowledge and understanding that learners can hang new learning upon.

Students need lots of time to explore and practice new concepts. The activity above was designed especially for that purpose.

Memorization of basic facts would have little relevance without that concept or understanding of what multiplication and division are really all about. Once the multiplication/division concept is understood, you can schedule a 10-minute block of time to work on fluency in math facts.

While practicing fluency, the bulk of math class will be devoted to unit(s) from your regular curriculum, preferably unrelated to multiplication and division.

Example: In my fifth-grade classroom, while working on basic fact fluency, I liked to teach measurement or geometry because the activities are so much fun, and fact fluency is not critical for either of them.

How Your Student Can Easily Learn Basic Facts (In Just 10 Minutes A Day).

1. Teach a Strategy

Teaching strategies involves the HOW of learning.

During that 10-minute fluency block, teach strategies for new facts and provide time for plenty of focused practice. Strategies pave the way for making the facts stick.

Some examples of strategies might be:

  • When multiplying by 6, concentrate on the digit in one's place for some of the challenging facts: 6 x 4 = 24, 6 x 6 = 36, 6 x 8 = 48.
  • When multiplying by 2 (or any even number, for that matter), the product will be an even number.

To assure that mastery happens even more quickly, set aside three or four minutes of practice later in the day and perhaps another minute before bedtime.

Quick Tip

Avoid gimmicks or methods that distract from the actual learning. Having to transfer gimmicky or extraneous learning to actual mastery is a time-consuming step for the brain!

So instead of learning little songs, or "counting up," why not use that energy to teach sound mathematical strategies in the first place?

2. Practice and Test for Mastery

Part of that 10-minute block of time will be used to practice implementing the strategies that have been learned.

Make it easy with special flash cards:

  • Multiplication on one side and related division on the other
  • Without answers so the learner can see that the answers are in the related problem
  • Color-coded for each table

Another component of that 10-minute block of time is testing for mastery. You will want to use tests that are focused specifically on the facts that are being practiced.

To maintain and reinforce those facts, you will need tests that systematically review all previously-learned facts along with the newly-learned facts, in multiplication first, followed immediately by division.

No matter which curriculum you're using, a plan for teaching fact fluency is a critically-important supplement. Introducing strategies, practicing, and testing for mastery will take a small portion of your daily math lesson.

But here's the payback: Think of the difference fluency will make in time, effort, accuracy, and maybe even attitude, thereafter!

Want A Sample To See How Easy This System Is? 

Our FREE QuickStart Pack includes videos that teach "Multiply by 0" and "Divide into Zero," plus downloadable zeroes flash cards , and assessment for each lesson.

I would love to hear from you! ❤️


Have a question? Idea for a resource you might find helpful?
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