Welcome back to our book study of Math Running Records in Action: A Framework for Assessing Basic Fact Fluency in Grades K-5 by Dr. Nicki Newton. Many joined in last week as we got the ball rolling. Today we move on to Section II–all about the Addition Running Record.
If you are just arriving today, now worries! You can view the book study archive to read past posts by clicking on the Book Studies drop down menu of the navigation bar above. If you want to participate, it’s easy–simply read along and comment on posts by sharing what makes you think, what connections you make, what plans are put in motion, etc. I will also be posting some questions to think about as they relate to the reading each time I post, so you may feel free to respond to those as well. It’s wonderful hearing how each of us transacts with the text as we reflect on the reading, our teaching, and our philosophies. Dr. Nicki has also graciously agreed to do a Q & A in conjunction with the study, so make sure to keep a list of your burning questions as we progress.
If you don’t have a copy of the book, portions of the text will be summarized, yet other portions will be mentioned and will require the text for full understanding and benefit. Please feel free to share, even if you don’t have a copy of the text. Of course, I DO recommend you snag yourself a copy. Use Routledge discount code IRK95 to receive 20% off!
Are we ready?
I cannot say enough how much I love what Dr. Nicki’s book has to offer!
In short review, chapters one and two taught us that a Math Running record is an assessment that takes an up-close look at how a students understands his/her basic facts.
As we move on to Section II, we learn specifics about how to administer, analyze, and interpret the Math Addition Running Record (an assessment of basic addition facts to 20) as well as the implications the results have for teaching addition.
Chapter 3: The Addition Running Record
Dr. Nicki stresses that, when used systematically and consistently across grade levels, Math Running Records yield valuable data that can be used to talk about individual students, classes, and grade levels. Furthermore, the Math Addition Running Record can be used to assess students at more than one grade level depending on student need.
The Math Basic Fluency Running Record process, whether addition/subtraction/multiplication/division, always begins by introducing the assessment to the student. This introduction lets the student know that there are three parts to the assessment and what he/she will be asked to do in each part. Dr. Nick provides an introduction dialogue that teachers can use to do so.
A breakdown of the Math Addition Running Record follows:
Part I: Benchmark Problems – Twelve benchmark addition facts are given to the student, and he/she is asked to orally answer. The teacher records the child’s responses using a series of codes that relate to his/her accuracy and automaticity. The teacher carefully observes the child’s behaviors and codes them as such on the teacher recording sheet. The teacher also notes behaviors such as self-corrections, thinking time, finger counting, skipping problems, etc. Each behavior is recorded with a code and there is room on the recording sheet for comments.
Part II: Clarifying Questions/Strategy Use – The teacher goes back and asks the students in detail about each problem. The teacher recording sheet offers a list of possible question prompts for the teacher such as, Can you tell me more about how you…?, That’s interesting: Tell me what you did. What the students says and does is recorded. Part II is crucial because the teacher gains important information about a child’s understanding as it relates to strategy use that will in turn be used to inform instruction.
Part III: Mathematical Disposition – How a student feels and thinks about him/herself as a mathematician is at the center in Part III. The child is asked to talk about what was easy and difficult as well as what he/she does when stuck. A child’s answers provide a bit more insight into his/her attitudes.
Chapter 4 – Analyzing and Interpreting the Addition Running Record
The first step is to analyze all parts of the Addition Running Record. Dr. Nicki suggest to look for the following when analyzing Part I:
- Where does the student demonstrate automaticity?
- Which problems does the student not know?
- What happens when the student doesn’t know a problem? How does he/she act? What does he/she do? What are his/her behaviors when stuck?
When analyzing Part II, it’s all about looking closely at a child’s level of strategy use When approaching each problem. Determining the efficiency of a child’s strategy use is especially important. The following questions for analysis (with clarifying examples not shown here) are presented:
- Does the student thoroughly understand the type of fact you are asking about?
- What are the main strategies that the student know?
- Where does the student use inefficient strategies?
- What happens when the student does not know the problem? How does he/she act? What does he/she do? What are his/her behaviors when he/she is stuck? Does he/she try or does he/she give up right away?
Dr. Nicki also gives readers a sample recording sheet for looking at strategy levels as well as a peek into a Math Addition Running Record that shows a teacher’s notations.
Teachers should then go on to analyze Part III by looking closely at the disposition interview to note a child’s attitude, how the interview compares to his/her performance on Parts I and II of the assessment, what he/she says about struggling, etc.
When analysis has been done, it is then helpful to record individual and class data on larger recording sheets. Dr. Nicki calls this “picturing the data” and provides samples of how this can be done.
Finally, it is time to interpret what has been collected to inform your instruction. This involves putting children into groups based on their understanding of addition fact fluency. It’s important to remember that groups should remain flexible, as students will progress from one group/level to another at different rates. It’s also a must to engage students in small guided groups and workstations for independent practice specific to their needs.
Chapter 5: Implications for Teaching Addition
This chapter gives some wonderful suggestions for teaching addition basic fact strategies while stressing the importance of allowing students to invent strategies.
In my experience with second graders, students often invent a strategy that is actually one that I teach as well. An example of this is the strategy of using ten. From the beginning of second grade we explore and talk a lot about the power of understanding ten. In number talks, students often use their knowledge of ten to simplify problems, making ten (or landmark tens when working with greater numbers). Furthermore, when students master understanding of doubles, they often begin “firing” on doubles using that knowledge to find the answers to facts that have not yet been mastered (naturally thinking about a double plus or minus one). Students also become “borrowers” of strategies, and this in turn increases their understanding as they make the strategy their own.
Instead of explicating teaching a strategy, questions to guide invention are given:
- How could you solve that?
- Is there another way?
- What number fact clue could you use?
- What number fact could you think about to help you with that fact?
- Can you use the (name the strategy) to find the answer?
The guided math framework is ideal for providing opportunities to invent strategies as well as teach addition strategies. Dr. Nicki offers a couple of options for recording what happens in such guided groups.
My favorite part of Chapter 5 is the 5-Part framework Dr. Nicki presents for individual fact practice. The five stages are research-based (Van de Walle) and give students lots of experience with addition strategies. Student practice in the five stages should be differentiated and give students time to practice the use of strategies. The five stages are as follows (more specific information about each is found in the text):
- Model It – A four square is used to practice concrete, pictorial, and abstract representation of facts.
- Flashcard Practice (ongoing every day) – Students should be engaged in flashcard use at three levels (explained in more detail below).
- Strategy Notebooks/Posters – Students make meaning of strategies in the form of writing and models. This can come in the form of strategy explanations, examples of the strategy, explanations of strategy self-talk. I use the word self-talk because students may choose to explain what they tell themselves to do when approaching a particular fact/facts.
- Word Problem Practice – Students practice using various strategies when given numbers in the context of word problems. Repeated exposure to word problems and the freedom to choose strategies is important in this context.
- Quiz–Just Knew It! – A self-monitoring quick check is taken. This should not be timed or in competition with others. Checks are done so students can reflect on how they are progressing in their understanding of basic addition facts. Self-tracking of one’s own progress becomes important as he/she progresses. For this reason, Dr. Nicki offers some different ways students can keep track of their progress.
As noted above, flashcard use is an important part of fact practice, but there are three stages of flashcard practice. We all know about the use of flashcards with basic facts such as 4 x 8–they have been used “since the dark ages”. Ha! If our students are just using these types of flashcards, they are practicing solely at the abstract level.
Students need practice with flashcards at the concrete, pictorial, and abstract levels (in that order). Dr. Nicki explains what each level of flashcard practice looks like.
The first is practice with the basic fact flashcards as stated above BUT students physically model strategy use with manipulatives/tools. Then students move to using scaffolding flashcards–those that show the fact and a visual representation of a strategy. Only after students show mastery of these types of flashcards do they go on to the use of flashcards that simply state the basic facts. Even at the abstract level, the goal is NOT to drill but to sort facts by strategy and say from memory. At whatever flashcard level my students are practicing, I always expect them to talk to each other about what strategy they are using or use self-talk when working alone.
If you are interested in some scaffolding flashcards for addition, feel free to download the flashcards I created HERE! I think you will find them especially helpful!
Chapter 5 is chocked full! The use of workstations and games are not discussed here but are addressed in this chapter as well. Thank you to Dr. Nicki for such a comprehensive look at Math Addition Running Records and their implications for teaching/learning.
Now it’s your turn to share your thoughts and reflections of Section II. You may also like to respond to one of the following questions for reflection:
- What one thing did you take away from the reading that you will definitely implement this coming school year? Explain.
- What are your thoughts on the five stages of independent practice presented in Chapter 5?
- How do you currently differentiate as it relates to your students learning of basic addition facts?
Your time and participation are greatly appreciated! Simply click in the “Leave a Reply” box at the end of this post to share. If you are used to blogger commenting, it will be new to you when you are asked to enter your email. Your email will not appear for readers to see. Once I read your comment, I will post it for everyone to see. This is a security measure to cut out any spam or advertisements.
I’ll see you back here next Thursday, July 21st when we talk about the Subtraction Running Record. You can also click here to view the book study schedule for future weeks.
All the best–