Fact Fluency

Learning basic math facts in early grades is so important! When I used to teach 4th and 5th grade, math was very difficult for my students that didn’t know their basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division math facts. The same concept is true for younger grades! In second grade, students start working with two and three digit numbers, which can be very diffuclut and time consuming if they do not know their basic addition and subtraction facts. To ensure all students have the foundation of fact fluency I incorporate it into my daily rituals and routines from the beginning of the year.

Each day students take a 1 minute fact speed test. Each speed test has only 10 problems. I set the timer on my phone. When it goes off, I train my students to drop their pencils and throw their hands in the air. They think this is funny! I know it sounds like a lot to do this every day, but if it is in your routine, it really takes less than five minutes! My math block was usually rigth after lunch. Students would come into the classroom, grab their speed test (I had a wall with pockets of speed tests so students could grab the test they are on), and turn it upside down on their table until everyone was ready. Students really loved our speed tests. They knew the routine and looked forward to seeing their progress. They really learned the relatiohsip between studying and learning.


In order to make the most progress, I grade the fact fluency tests daily. Then, the students who pass (80% or above) color their score on their facts graph.

As the year goes on and students master their facts, I train a few students to grade the tests for me. This is good practice for them and makes things quicker for me.

I always take the highest grade from students for each fact. I allow them to keep trying until they recieve a satisfactory grade.


I set a goal for each fact to be mastered by. (Usually about 2 weeks or less.) I tell students that I would expect them to have mastered their facts by this date. If they do not, they will be graded on the next fact. However; I do have them continue to work on whatever fact they have not mastered. If they can’t master easier facts, the harder facts will sut get harder.

In the beginning, I try to keep my standards high for all students. Many of my special needs students have been successful meeting the same goals as my general ed. students if they are given the support and strategies to practice. I have had a few students, who despite trying, were unable to remember the facts due to learing disabilites. In these cases, I would either give the speed tests untimed or cut down on the number of facts they did in the alloted time.

How to Study

I teach students to study using triangle flash cards. These help students see the relationship between addition and subtraction or multiplication and division. I expect students to study their facts for at least 10 minutes a night.

Make Ten with Ten Frames

I also incorporate fluency games into my math centers.

If you are looking for a way to incorporate fact fluency into your rituals and routines, you can purchase my 2nd and 3rd grade untis on TpT. Click on the pictures for links.


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