Let’s be clear—students need to have automaticity with their basic facts. What’s changed is the way we teach facts, moving away from rote memorization toward a strategy-based approach. Students learn unknown facts by reasoning about facts they know. For example, a student might not automatically know 6 + 7. If they know, however, that 6 + 6 is 12 then they can reason that 6 + 7 must be 13, because 6 + 7 is just one more than 6 + 6. Moving students from reasoning to mastery takes practice. Today, I have two free websites for developing math fact mastery.
- XtraMath This free website uses pretests to determine students’ needs and then tracks student progress and adjusts their practice. Parents receive weekly emails showing their child’s progress. There is also a premium version with more features as well as mobile apps.
- Arcademic Skillbuilders This free website uses highly engaging video arcade-type games that kids will want to play. Many of the games have settings that let kids focus on certain facts. This site is constantly adding new games, and they now offer both iPhone and Droid apps (for a small charge).