Fluency is important for higher order math skills and problem solving. In fact, MRI research shows that the brain actually changes as untrained facts are learned. We were very lucky to obtain a classroom grant through the Reflex Educator Grant program. The Grant program has given us 35 licenses to use ExploreLearning Reflex free for one year. Reflex is an online game-based system that helps students of all abilities to develop better recall of math facts. The facts are presented in number families of addition-subtraction and multiplication-division from 0 - 12. The families are presented at the start of every session and then practised through very fun and engaging games. Stars, points and certificates are earned along the way to keep motivation high! Practise sessions last for about 15 minutes and significant results can be obtained in only three sessions per week.
Our classroom has solved over 30,000 total facts since starting in February and a number of students have now reached 100% fluency in addition and subtraction facts. Our classroom started with an average of 39% fluency and has now reach 85% with an average total usage of 28 days per student.
This program has also been important to demonstrate to our students how using strategies to lower their anxiety and arousal level (remember the amygdala!) helps their brains to function better. Many students have difficulty not with learning the facts but retrieving them under stress. Taking a deep breath, a break or saying a green thought can help a student get back on track.
We are sharing our grant with Mr. Miller's Grade 3/4 classroom and their math fact fluency has increased substantially as well. In addition/subtraction the Grade 3's went from 33% starting fluency to 70% (with one student obtaining 100% fluency after 16 days usage. The Grade 4 students started with only 14% fluency in multiplication/division facts and increased to 49% with 13 days total usage (computer block at school).
Imagine - students having fun and learning at the same time!