Today I come to you with Dr. Nicki’s Q & A about Math Running Records! This Q & A was arranged in conjunction with the book study recently hosted here at Adventures in Guided Math. Visit the Math Running Records in Action Book Study Archive to learn more and take advantage of some wonderful resources. Many thanks go out to Dr. Nicki!
Q1: There are schools that have “fluency” goals for students that are strictly based on timed tests (as an example, Rocket Math). What suggestions do you have for teachers who want to create change in their building?
A1: I would start by reading articles on timed tests and then having discussions about that research. I would show them the book on Math Running Records.
Timed Tests and the Development of Math Anxiety by Jo Boaler
Assessing Basic Fact Fluency by Gina Kling and Jennifer M. Bay-Williams
Fluency: Simply Fast and Accurate? I Think Not! by Linda M. Gojak
Q2: As a fifth grade teacher, which running record/s should I give at the beginning of the year? No one in the building has used running records before.
A2: It depends on the students, in general with 5th graders I would test multiplication and division. But we know there are those who are still counting up on their fingers. I would give the subtraction running records to some students because subtraction is a tricky area for many students.
Q3: I am a first year teacher, not using a guided math framework yet (but wanting to do running records and provide independent practice using the five-component framework). What might that look like?
A3: Start slow and build up as you go. I might even start with just a few students and then work up to others. Be sure to look at the Math Running Records Website.
Q4: What about time? I don’t have any more time.
A4: Time is allotted to what we value. Do we as educators in schools value numeracy as much as literacy? What do school schedules show? Do we allot 10 hours for literacy and only 4 or 5 for math a week? Schedules make statements about what we value. What does yours say? (Newton, 2016)
Q5: How do I teach the strategies when I never learned this way?
Ahhh! Now this is the question that plagues us all. We have to lean into the discomfort. I have seen a great visual for this lately (Figure 15.1). It looks like this:
How do we lean into the discomfort, the not knowing, the not having learned it that way? How do we lean into the “I have to practice this a couple of times before I can teach it”? How do we lean into the “I don’t get it still . . . yet”? How do we embrace all the things we want our students to be and do? I don’t have all the answers to that. But, I can tell you I had to practice that area model with decimal squares a few times before I truly understood what I was doing! I have had to practice, practice, practice and embrace my own learning edge to do this stuff. And you know what! I feel good about it now. It’s hard at first because we tend to feel like we have to know it all immediately and if we don’t then something is wrong with us! Please stop right there! This is a journey and all this math stuff is “hard fun” (Charlesworth & Lind, 2004). Lean in. (Newton, 2016)
Q6: What suggestions do you have for a teacher wanting to use your five-component framework for independent practice when he/she is bound to using a math series and its pacing?
A6: I would say to use this in the workstations because that is where you can provide space for students to work at their own pace.
Q7: When students are practicing independently, using 4-square cards, do they complete a card for each fact related to a strategy (for example, all the fact where using ten can be helpful)? Do they use paper/pencil cards or laminated with dry erase?
A7: I would do a four square card for each of the facts. For example, if the students are working on their 4’s, they would do a card for each fact. This builds that conceptual understanding. Once students understand it, they go rather quickly, while reinforcing the concept. They could use paper or pencil or dry erase.
Q8: When students are working through the five-component framework for fact practice, how do a student and the teacher track his/her progress through each component?
A8: I would make a checkpoint sheet for the framework. We are in the middle of putting up several tracking examples on the website.
Q9: Does 10 minutes a day really make a difference?
A9: All the research says that fluency should be a daily practice (Mason, 2006; Van de Walle, 2007). Students should have about 10 minutes of fluency practice a day. Time simply devoted to practicing their facts. They can do this in a variety of ways, including games, personal math fact rings or personal math fact folders. Distributed practice over time makes all the difference (Newton, 2016).
Thanks for stopping by today! All the best to you as you adventure with Math Running Records…