“Arithmetic skills are necessary life tools that people use regularly every day. A person who is not able to do arithmetic is handicapped in many situations.” (from About Teaching Mathematics, by Marilyn Burns, 2000).
We recognize that doing math involves more than mere memorization of basic facts. However, in order for a person to become proficient in solving mathematical problems, a certain level of fluency and quick recall aids in solving problems efficiently. As we transition to solving multi-step problems on STAAR , our students need to have knowledge of strategies used to work with numbers as well as quick recall of the basic facts.
In order to support our students’ learning of the basic facts, we have developed what we call Math Stars. As a campus we determined the appropriate skills each grade level needs. When students master the skills for their grade level, they become a Math Star. Our math specialist works with the teachers to find out who the math stars are on a weekly basis. Once a student becomes a Math Star, parents are invited to attend a morning assembly where the Math Star is recognized publicly. These celebrations are held on Friday mornings, and we make it a big deal with a drum roll and all! Once students become Math Stars, they get to attend Math Star parties which are held periodically throughout the year. Recognizing students’ achievements and rewarding them for their efforts is important!