It’s crunch time! Time to make those little ones add and subtract fluently before the end of the school year. My first year teaching I struggled to make this exciting and motivating for my students, but have learned a few tips and tricks from colleagues and my little ones.
To get started, about two weeks before we start sprints, I make a big display on a bulletin board in the hallway- it could also be done in the classroom, but this way we get to show off what we are doing to the rest of the school. We use “Ice cream” as our sprints theme. Because, why not?
Who doesn’t love ice cream? The kids are automatically interested. Then I tell them they’ll each be getting their own ice cream cone to hang in the hallway.
As the students beat each math fluency level, they earn a scoop on their cone. I let them hang their own scoops. To save me hours of having the kids color and cut our scoops, I print them on Astrobright paper and laminate them so they can be used year after year. The students decorate and cut out their own cones.
I also let all my kinders know that when we are finished with sprints in June, we will have an ice cream party! (It’s just as much for me as it is for them…). I tell them that they do not need a certain number of scoops to be invited, they just need to have a positive attitude and try their best every day. (Be sure to bring sprinkles!!)
To help keep spirits up, as soon as we complete each timed sprint, we put our pencils down and take a second to tap ourselves on each shoulder saying “muy bien, muy bien” (I teach in a dual language classroom, but you could say “good job, good job”).
All I can say is my kids are more motivated and excited about sprints than ever! Many even request to take the leveled page home to practice. They pest their parents to time them on the microwave timer. They begin to take responsibility for their own skills and speed. They also learn to win and to lose gracefully, and persevere even when it is difficult.
Do you use a motivating system to help students gain fact fluency? Do you use Math busters, math sprints, or a different program? Let me know!