A Better Use for Flashcards

Written by Donna Boucher

Donna has been a teacher, math instructional coach, interventionist, and curriculum coordinator. A frequent speaker at state and national conferences, she shares her love for math with a worldwide audience through her website, Math Coach’s Corner. Donna is also the co-author of Guided Math Workshop.

It’s the end of the year, and I’ve been out helping the grade levels with their math materials inventory. One thing I ran across in a couple of the planning rooms was flashcards. In the scheme of all things CRA, flashcards are totally abstract. They do not foster an understanding of the facts presented. So how do you use the flashcards for more effective learning? Take it back to the concrete and representational stages. I created two little recording sheets you could use in workstations–one for addition facts and another for multiplication. Students choose a flashcard, use counters to model it, and then draw a representation of the fact. Easy peasy!! The more you start to think in the CRA framework, the more natural activities like this will come to you.

Click here for addition and here for multiplication.

Looking for more CRA?
Fact Family Workstations, CRA
2-Digit Subtraction with Regrouping

23 Comments

    • Donna Boucher

      Thanks, Lisa!

      Reply
  1. Amy B

    Great Idea!!! Thanks Donna!
    Amy

    Reply
    • Donna Boucher

      You’re welcome, Amy! I just hate to see materials go to waste, so I wanted to find a good use for the flashcards.

      Donna

      Reply
  2. Mona

    Donna,

    Thank you so much! I’m going to use the addition facts worksheet with my first graders.

    Mona
    First Grade Schoolhouse

    Reply
    • Donna Boucher

      Perfect!! Glad it’s something you can use. 🙂

      Donna

      Reply
  3. Mary manaher

    Donna-

    We love your site. You have some awesome ideas. Thanks for sharing.

    Mary Manaher
    Professional Tutoring Services

    Reply
    • Donna Boucher

      It’s my pleasure! 🙂

      Reply
  4. jbales

    Thanks so much, Donna. I love the idea of going beyond the memorization of the facts!!

    Reply
    • Donna Boucher

      Right, it’s so important that they understand. And this is such an easy activity!

      Reply
  5. Linda Downs

    OK, this is a great activity for tomorrow. We are working on addition! Thanks.

    Reply
    • Donna Boucher

      Yea! I love activities that feature good math, and require so little prep that you can do them the next day!

      Reply
  6. Helena Jones

    Thank you! Our AC had given us flash cards last year, but we were not sure how to fit them into a center. These sheets are perfect. Students can use them as a template for their math journals.

    Reply
  7. Tchur8

    love this! I’m going to use when teaching arrays or during math enrichment. My thoughts are to use bingo markers…if they’re not to big for the dots. Thanks

    Reply
    • Donna Boucher

      Oh, that sounds like a good idea. The kiddos would love it!

      Reply
  8. Chrissy

    Thanks for the addition freebie. It’s just what I was looking for!
    Chrissy
    First Grade Found Me

    Reply
    • Donna Boucher

      Perfect!

      Reply
  9. Janet

    I love this idea! It is a great way to extend the use of flashcards! Thank you!! On your multiplication worksheet your picture, however, does not match your multiplication problem. Your picture shows 5×3 not 3×5. The first number is how many groups there are and the second number shows how many are in those groups. This is a common core standard that is now being taught and stressed in our math classes. Thank you again! I love this idea and plan on using it.

    Reply
    • Donna Boucher

      Thanks for the feedback, Janet. I changed the multiplication fact to match the problem shown!

      Reply
  10. snowdoll

    I was wondering what to do with those flashcards:) Thanks for this great idea & free recording sheet.

    Reply
    • Donna Boucher

      Glad it’s going to be helpful!

      Reply
  11. Betsy Brown

    I’m always searching for ways to involve family learning. This is a great resource to help parents understand just what we want their kinder-bears to understand and why just flashing the cards isn’t the only way to learn those basic facts. Thank you!

    Reply
    • Donna Boucher

      You’re welcome, Betsy! Parent involvement is so important! 🙂

      Reply

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