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 Beach Glass's Message: Good suggestions here, but I would like to add something about math facts. I taught 6th for over 15 years. I cannot stress how important multiplication facts are! A lack of facts proficiency was a nightmare when teaching 6th graders! A many-years-retired high school math teacher got me hooked on something he used in his basic math and algebra classes. At the beginning of the school year, he gave his students a multiplication facts test that covered all the facts. It is timed, only to prevent the kids from using repeated addition, fingers, and skip counting (I think I gave my 6th graders 5 minutes and did NOT include 0's and 1's). The tests were corrected. I gave each child a colored index card, upon which they copied those "demons" on the front side only. They used this card when doing their work and tests and came to a fact they didn't know. Consequences were severe for losing or forgetting it. The premise was that, if a student looks up a demon enough times, the student will eventually learn it. Having the demons always "front and center" while doing math allowed them to focus on their selected ones as opposed to the multiplication grid that is so commonly used. We would take the big facts test about every 6-8 weeks or so. The students would build a new demons card each time and saw the list shrink each time. That was such a high for them! it was such a concrete affirmation they were making progress. They would even save the old demon cards to compare later in the year. As a teacher, I liked it as I was able to ditch the daily facts quiz and sink our teeth into other skills best done on a daily basis. Let's face it, by the time kids are in junior high, daily facts tests are not terribly effective. This was a great way to individualize. I even used this with my special needs daughter when in elementary school. She liked to call it her "cheat card," without really realizing she was repeatedly learning her demons.

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