Nov. 28, 2013

Dear Parents and students,

Re: Learning and Recalling Math Facts

Firstly please allow me to thank you for supporting your child’s learning at home. As we progress throughout the year it is so exciting for me to observe your children work hard and learn so much.

Continued revision of math facts at home is very much necessary for the students. I have compiled some helpful hints to consider when helping your child at home.

The mastery of math facts is an essential ingredient in a student’s math development. Math facts are those addition, subtraction, multiplication and division computations e.g. 2+2=4, 5x4=20, which are the basis for math operations. These basic facts must become increasingly effortless and automatic, so students can use them quickly and accurately, for example, when working with math procedures, learning math concepts, and performing math problem-solving.

The goal for all grade 4’s is to have full effortless mastery of math facts of multiplication and division facts from 1-12. This will take time and effort. I have put together a few helpful hints to help facilitate this learning at home.

· Work on accuracy of math facts before you build on speed in recall. Make sure your child has shown mastery of math facts (can recall them accurately and with ease) before testing them under timed conditions.

· Determine which math facts are not consistently recalled by your child. Once you have determined his/her tricky facts, use cues around your home to help trigger tricky facts. For example put a cue card for 6x7=42 near the toothbrushes…or 8x6=48 by the bedside lamp etc.

· Integrate drill and practice activities into a fun format, such as a game with a deck of playing cars that your child can play, or computer software with math fact games.

· Encourage your child to use a strategic approach for practicing and recalling math facts. For example, ‘I don’t know 7x6, but I do know that 7x5=35, so one more 7 makes 42; or I know that 7x7=49, so one less 7 makes 42.

· Remind students of the commutative property of multiplication which tells us that regardless of the order in which the same numbers are multiplied the product remains the same. (3x4=12, and 4x3=12)

· Grasping the commutative property not only enhances students’ conceptual understanding in math, but provides them with the thrilling notion that such pattern of ‘tricks’ make it easier to learn math, essentially cutting the number of math facts to ‘memorize’ in half!

· Build your child’s abilities with math facts through the use of number families. Number families are clusters related math facts. For example have your child learn the facts 4x5=20, 5x4=20, 20¸4=5, and 20¸5=4 grouped together as a ‘family. Encourage your child to write problems horizontally and vertically, as well as to say them aloud.

Thank you again for continuing to support your child at home and for taking the time to read this letter. All the children have an online IXL site where they can practice their multiplication. This is just one method or piece in mastering these important facts, please use whatever works for you and your child.

Sincerely,

Jane Rees

Dear Parents and students,

Re: Learning and Recalling Math Facts

Firstly please allow me to thank you for supporting your child’s learning at home. As we progress throughout the year it is so exciting for me to observe your children work hard and learn so much.

Continued revision of math facts at home is very much necessary for the students. I have compiled some helpful hints to consider when helping your child at home.

The mastery of math facts is an essential ingredient in a student’s math development. Math facts are those addition, subtraction, multiplication and division computations e.g. 2+2=4, 5x4=20, which are the basis for math operations. These basic facts must become increasingly effortless and automatic, so students can use them quickly and accurately, for example, when working with math procedures, learning math concepts, and performing math problem-solving.

The goal for all grade 4’s is to have full effortless mastery of math facts of multiplication and division facts from 1-12. This will take time and effort. I have put together a few helpful hints to help facilitate this learning at home.

**Fact: A consistent mastery of math facts, such as multiplication tables, is greatly influenced by the functions of attention and memory.****Helpful hints:**- Keep your child’s optimal attention span in mind. Plan short breaks when teaching and practicing math facts.
- Ensure your child is well-fueled (well-fed and well-rested) before practicing math facts. Memorizing math facts takes a huge amount of mental energy.
- Incorporate multi-sensory activities into the teaching and memorizing of math facts, i.e. have students write it, say or sing it, show it, do it, etc.
- Take advantage of your child’s strengths when teaching math facts, e.g., use sounds, rhythm, and musical instruments to teach students with musical talents, use manipulatives for those with strong spatial skills, etc.
- Give plenty of positive reinforcement as their mastery of math facts improves!

**Fact: Memory plays an important role in enabling a student to recall math facts accurately, relatively instantaneously, and with little effort while working through a problem.****Helpful hints:**· Work on accuracy of math facts before you build on speed in recall. Make sure your child has shown mastery of math facts (can recall them accurately and with ease) before testing them under timed conditions.

· Determine which math facts are not consistently recalled by your child. Once you have determined his/her tricky facts, use cues around your home to help trigger tricky facts. For example put a cue card for 6x7=42 near the toothbrushes…or 8x6=48 by the bedside lamp etc.

· Integrate drill and practice activities into a fun format, such as a game with a deck of playing cars that your child can play, or computer software with math fact games.

**Fact: The awareness of basic math patterns is closely related to number sense. Pattern awareness involves an appreciation of basic rules and patterns that exist in math.**

**Helpful hints:**· Encourage your child to use a strategic approach for practicing and recalling math facts. For example, ‘I don’t know 7x6, but I do know that 7x5=35, so one more 7 makes 42; or I know that 7x7=49, so one less 7 makes 42.

· Remind students of the commutative property of multiplication which tells us that regardless of the order in which the same numbers are multiplied the product remains the same. (3x4=12, and 4x3=12)

· Grasping the commutative property not only enhances students’ conceptual understanding in math, but provides them with the thrilling notion that such pattern of ‘tricks’ make it easier to learn math, essentially cutting the number of math facts to ‘memorize’ in half!

· Build your child’s abilities with math facts through the use of number families. Number families are clusters related math facts. For example have your child learn the facts 4x5=20, 5x4=20, 20¸4=5, and 20¸5=4 grouped together as a ‘family. Encourage your child to write problems horizontally and vertically, as well as to say them aloud.

Thank you again for continuing to support your child at home and for taking the time to read this letter. All the children have an online IXL site where they can practice their multiplication. This is just one method or piece in mastering these important facts, please use whatever works for you and your child.

Sincerely,

Jane Rees