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–

Ann Elise record says

I can’t say enough about how much I love these running records! As Elementary Math Specialist, I’ve given hundreds of them now (from kindergarteners to 5th graders) and have experienced how my school has changed as more and more teachers and assistants administer them. Our data meetings when we discuss the progress of each child is so much more specific and we are all speaking the same language. I have found that the 5+6 students is the real test of whether students have begun strategic thought. Most of my students will say that 5+6 is 11 because 5+5=10 and one more makes 11 because I think the benchmark of 5 is so ingrained. When I ask them 6+7, though, a lot of students resort back to counting on. So I can tell that they haven’t yet graduated to applying strategies to the higher math facts. So fascinating and informative about where I need to begin working with them.

In regards to differentiating to meet the needs of all learners, some of my teachers have made differentiated bins and assigned students to a specific color bin for use during Guided Math. For instance, there is a game workstation, but the games in the bins are differentiated so that each group gets the practice they need. For example, the orange students’ bin might be the doubles games bin, the purple group is making 10, and the blue group might be doubles plus one. That way, each student is doing 15 minutes of fluency work, but it is not the same game for all students in the class. Students are moved into different groups as they progress. This is measured by a mini-interview by the teacher or me when we feel they have mastered that strategy with efficiency, accuracy, and flexibility. We made a chart with a box for each strategy (not for students to see) and we then update it as we have given mini-interviews with the students and move them into a new box.

Adventures in Guided Math says

It is so nice to hear from someone who has used math running records and has had successes! Thanks so much for sharing your teachers’ differentiating bins as well–I know it can seem like a daunting task for some, but there are so many great ways it can be done. Your teachers are lucky to have your support–not all districts are as fortunate to have the support of a math specialist. Thanks for sharing again, Ann Elise!

Liz Conlin says

Hi! I hope you don’t mind if I borrow the different colored bins idea. I was wondering how many do your teachers usually have? My main problem is that in 5th grade, I may have kids all over the place with their facts. If last year was a precursor, I had students that had difficulty with all 4 basic operations. Not just knowing them but difficulties with the concepts. It really was difficult to watch the students who have not generalized the concepts and that they are all connected, and become more connected at they move forward in their academic career. Unfortunately, there isn’t any thing very consistent in our building for fluency except a timed test for facts. I am hoping to make this a success and convince more teachers this is the way to go 🙂

Any help would be appreciated!

Ann Elise record says

Absolutely feel free to borrow the idea! I feel that teaching needs be a sharing profession. As Math specialist, I gathered games and materials for each of the strategies for each operation and put them in folders and labeled them. There was one day we had an inservice day so the classroom assistants and I mass produced the folders for the teachers. We also put a set by the photocopier so if someone found or created a game they could put a copy in the appropriate folder and we could share.

I also created a set of videos for the addition strategies and how we can use math tools to teach them. Here’s the link:

https://goo.gl/5IlvoM

My teachers typically have a bin for each small group. They then switch out the games or activities each week for each group.

🙂 Ann Elise

Adventures in Guided Math says

Having taught fifth grade for many years, I know exactly what you mean. Something that I have used with second graders, that I would definitely use with 5th graders if I still worked with them, are personal math bags. I use the plastic book bags with a handle. During guided math, the kids get out their bags that house fact cards (the type depending on student need), math journals (half composition size), basic fact games, and fact card sorting mats. The kids travel with their bags during guided math stations and always have what they need. Tools such as Unifix cubes/counters and personal ten frames are easily accessible in the “Math Tools” area. This year, I will be adding small strategy notebooks and self-monitoring sheets as suggested by Dr. Nicki. As far as the basic fact games/activities go, I change those out periodically and just put them on students’ desks before they come in the a.m. so they can make the switch. I also have drawers by strategy that house games and workstations that students can access. Whatever you decide to use to differentiate, it has to be a good-fit for you. :0) The possibilities are many! Good luck as you make your way during this exciting time!

Liz Conlin says

Thank you both for the ideas!

Glenna Scribner says

Love this book! I’m a little slow joining this book study but I can’t stop thinking about it. This last year our school focused on math and using interim assessments and the data to guide our instruction. We have had many discussions as a team as to what “fluency” means. I can’t wait to share what I’ve learned from this book with my team.

In looking at one thing I will definitely do next year, it will be to give my students math running records and then group them for guided math. I had already set a goal to start guided math this year, and have been doing a lot of reading etc. for that before I ever found out about this book. What is so helpful in reading these addition chapters, is the knowledge of exactly where to start with each student and the progression order to work on the skills and also examples of ways to teach those skills. Self assessment is something I think is essential for student growth. Differentiation is one of the big goals that I worked on last year which is why I started looking into guided math. I gave students problems etc. at different levels but as I reflect back, I did not do much in differentiation with fluency. Too often, we worked on the same skills. +10, doubles etc.

I cannot wait to see the difference this will make in my classroom this year. Already thinking of how to get the rest of my school on board!

Adventures in Guided Math says

You have some exciting plans, Glenna! I know you will be amazed with the results of differentiating for fluency in the guided math framework. Another book that I think you would love is Mastering the Basic Math Facts in Addition and Subtraction by Susan O’Connell, if you haven’t already come across it. It is full of activities/games that you can use to differentiate by strategy. I’m sure you will have some wonderful discussions surrounding Math Running Records in Action–I am looking forward to sharing as well. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts! So glad your book made it there safe and sound. :0)

Liz Conlin says

One think I will implement is running records in math! I have already begun discussions with the special education teacher that will be in the room with me during our math block about what our math fluency practice will look like. It will be different than what I have done in the past, that is for sure. It was more just general activities. However, I have always been an advocate of students self monitoring their progress. I am very excited about finding out where our students are and how we will be able to move them forward. I don’t want to say that I won’t be starting with addition with fifth graders, because some of my students will be special needs, there is the chance that we may need to address it.

The 5 stages of independent practice didn’t surprise me but I will admit, I didn’t think about developing the activities for the students during fluency practice in that manner. I guess it’s mostly because I never really had a way to see where they were that I could document and make me put a focus on appropriate activities. I am still wrapping my head on organizing with a large class size with more individualization but I will make it work! I wish I would have had this going last year.

Adventures in Guided Math says

It sounds like you have some great plans for this year, Liz! Love your “make it work” mindset! Exciting times ahead! Thanks so much for sharing.

Colin Crippen says

I love that the Math Running Records seems to be a scaffolding process. I like that each student’s capabilities and struggles are considered when providing guided instruction. I also like that students have the opportunity to work on skills specific to them. The amount of progress monitoring is also quite astounding. Organizing student data seems consistent, concise, and clear to me. There are so many creative avenues I could use to help students with their math facts. This doesn’t seem like “work” to me. It seems like a great opportunity for students to learn their math facts, but also enjoy the process as well. I like that these Running Records seem more student-centered than what I’m used to. The students have a great opportunity to talk about what they enjoy in math and what they would like to work on. It also gives them a chance to work with students who have the same struggles. I’m sure I’ll say this a lot: I’m excited to use these Running Records in the classroom!

Adventures in Guided Math says

Definitely student-centered! In the past, I’ve done student interviews about strategy use that helped me group students for guided math, BUT I look forward to using Dr. Nicki’s system with the recording sheets/codes that will give me the same information AND MORE! It will be exciting to work with you this year as we “adventure” together, Colin!

Laura says

Now that I’m reading Dr Nicki’s book and becoming more familiar with the order in which math facts should be taught to our students, I’m wondering what to do since our math program doesn’t teach them in that order. How do I follow our math curriculum (it’s a spiral curriculum) if it isn’t developmentally appropriate for my students? I heard Dr. Nicki speak about a month ago and she talked about how teachers are so often “chasing the pacing.” The audience laughed at that, because it’s so true! When my district first adopted our current math program, we had a session of professional development where we all actually flagged our books according to where we were supposed to be each month! And the teacher’s room talk is often, “Where are you in math? I’m only in the middle of Unit 3. What? You’re in the middle of UNIT 4?!! YIKES!!!” I know this is more than a question about Math Running Records, but I’m a little confused about how to use the data the running records will give me and still “keep up” with where I’m supposed to be in our math curriculum. I had a student last year and I felt as though it was totally out of his ZPD to be doing the math lessons we were doing because his math skills just had not reached that developmental level yet (he moved in from another district). No, I wasn’t doing a math workshop or guided math, and that’s my goal for this year, but I’d love some advice, input, thoughts, about how to do weave all this together seamlessly (or, somewhat seamlessly).

Adventures in Guided Math says

Thanks so much for participating in the book study, Laura! You have some great questions. If you would like to email me at guidedmathadventures@gmail.com, I might be able to be of some help with a bit more information. I was wondering if there is anyone else in your building doing guided math/math workshop and if you are bound to use your series’ scope and sequence and all materials that go with it–“follow to the T”? I think you and your students have some great opportunities ahead as you have already made the decision to begin guided math/workshop this year. :0)

Sharon Brown says

Have you updated the scaffolding multiplication flashcards? I’m interested in using them in my classroom, but I need more than just the 2’s.

Adventures in Guided Math says

No, I have not. Hopefully this summer.