Teaching Students with LD and ADHD

Timed math tests....

Author Message
Posted Jul 25, 2003 at 3:34:55 PM
Subject: Timed math tests....

Hi,

I'm looking for tips/tricks etc. to help learn math facts. Kyle will be starting 3rd grade in a few weeks and will need to tackle multiplication. His school (private) has timed math test drills ( at least they did for add/sub). He had 20 problems and started with 3min to finish them, then cut the time each week, until he was down to 20 problems in 1 min. He was horrible at this, of course, we thought it was a stupid thing to begin with. His teachers used the same tests each week... every Monday was the same test, every Tuesday...etc., so we finally copied the tests and literally taught him the test. He went from F's to A's, and improved on knowing his math facts, but still almost always counts on his fingers. I'm dreading the multiplication this year any tips so that we can not copy the tests this year?

Thanks!

Posted:Jul 25, 2003 5:46:35 PM

practice practice and more practice!
start with the zeros and then go on to the ones, then twos and so on...
rote memorization is your best bet to learn the facts. start small and review often. when he has a good grasp of all his facts you can roll two dice and multiply them together as a game....
there are tons of easy multip. games - you can find tons online. also - if you show him on paper and with manipulatives what multiplication is, i think he will have a better grasp of what he is doing.
2x4=8 is also 2+2+2+2 and it is also : . . . .
. . . .
i am not keen on timed tests either but i guess you can tell him that knowing these facts are very important and being able to recall them quickly is just as important and that is why the teacher times them. you could make your own timed tests at home for practice too! keep record of how long it takes him - dont put a time restriction on it. each time he takes it, record his score. this way he is competing with himself and his own time. i bet he will want to keep working to lower his own time!

have fun!

Posted:Jul 26, 2003 12:04:40 AM

I think the timed tests are really stupid. I hope that he is *understanding* what he is doing, vs the rote memory. Because if he is just memorizing it, he might be in trouble later if he has to do more complex math. Can you talk to the teachers about this.

Make sure to practice with concrete objects to make sure he gets it. I have heard, gotta get that book, that "On Cloud Nine" from Lindamood Bell. Uses visualization to assist in the memorization and understanding. This might be useful.

Again I am concerned that he not just memorize but know what he is doing.

BTW, when I was in grade school there was somethign of a fad fo using tahistoscopes for reading. They would flash various words, sentences, and phrases on the board faster and faster. What happened is that I would read the words and literally not know at all what I was reading. I know now that I have reading comprehension problems. This was the dumbest thing to do with me!

--des

Posted:Jul 26, 2003 9:40:20 AM

I'll agree with des, get the On Cloud Nine Math manual. I just went to the training and I loved the way they taught the math facts. Just briefly, you show the child a flash card which has the problem and answer. Then you take the card away. The child then says the problem and answer as he air writes it. This is helping create a visual image of the problem and answer in the brain. Now as des said, you need to be sure the child understands the concepts first, but I really loved LB's thinking on this topic. Many programs use auditory input in the form of music. Some use other visual associations. But I think LB gets right to the essence and teaches just the facts with auditory, visual, and kinesthetic input. Now there is a little more to it as they teach fact families, so you need the manual to get the whole picture. I also liked their methods for teaching word problems. Those were the main two things I learned from that workshop and most kids have problems with those two areas.

Janis

Posted:Jul 26, 2003 3:26:10 PM

Without automaticity, you can't progress in math; esp. in algebra and beyond, you need automatic recall of math facts. Try QuarterMile Math, a computer program of drills for everything from addition, multiplication and fractions. Plus, HUGE amounts of drill(we used old fashioned flash cards) at home.

Posted:Jul 26, 2003 4:06:24 PM

Probably true, but if you don't understand them and learn them "fast" as opposed to anything else-- sounds like they aren't so interested in whether they understand or not, then they really can't progress. If you don't understand multiplication you are in no position to understand division. I think there is an assumption there that the kid *does* understand but can't do it fast.

I like the software idea and the visualization better than the flash cards. I think kids have been flash carded to death. There's a place for it, but it seems like there are other ways to teach fluency now.

I had all the flashcard stuff as well, but since I didn't understand what was going on in never made enough sense to remember it.

--des

Posted:Jul 26, 2003 4:32:02 PM

I was assuming your child had been evaluated and was just behind on fluency, not on comprehension of math concepts. Of course, start with teaching concepts. The Key Math test is fairly quick and a good indicator of academic achievement in the math area. Many special ed. programs don't achieve fluency in math facts because "drill" is out of favor. But without automatic recall you can't do fractions, percents, etc. that are taught in 4th grade.

Posted:Jul 26, 2003 4:47:55 PM

Kyle is fine with the concepts, just not the speed. He can finish a sheet of 50 problems in about 10 minutes or less most days when it's homework. I think it's the time pressure that gets to him. When we copied the test, I mixed up the problems so that while he was practicing the same problems that would be on Monday's test, they were not in the same order as the teacher's.

I understand the need for imediate recall on these facts, but to be able in 1st and 2nd grade to do 20 problems in a minute seems a little rediculous. I'm hoping for a very understanding techer this fall. Math has always been his best subject, except for these timed tests.

Posted:Jul 26, 2003 8:38:21 PM

Quote "Orwell":

Hi,

Quote "Orwell":

I'm looking for tips/tricks etc. to help learn math facts. Kyle will be starting 3rd grade in a few weeks and will need to tackle multiplication. His school (private) has timed math test drills ( at least they did for add/sub). He had 20 problems and started with 3min to finish them, then cut the time each week, until he was down to 20 problems in 1 min. He was horrible at this, of course, we thought it was a stupid thing to begin with. His teachers used the same tests each week... every Monday was the same test, every Tuesday...etc., so we finally copied the tests and literally taught him the test. He went from F's to A's, and improved on knowing his math facts, but still almost always counts on his fingers. I'm dreading the multiplication this year any tips so that we can not copy the tests this year?

Quote "Orwell":

Hi, I read you opinion. I have same experience. Of course feedback is very good for learning, but several repeating can let tire of learning.
Maybe you'd better find another math.
Thanks!

Posted:Jul 27, 2003 1:04:16 AM

I cut and pasted this off another post I posted. I can almost always get my kids to pass those tests. If not written, I have them do it orally. When you make it multi-sensory with a chant, hand motion, and rhyme, it works very well. Short amount of practice many times is better than long periods of practice fewer days.Math the Fun way can be purchased at www.citycreek.com, (I think anyway). I try to find a unique way to present all the tough ones. Have you gone to www.multiplication.com?

I have used Math The FUn way but I also pair each one with a silly little ryhme of my own plus a specific noise. I teach them in patterns too.

x0
x1
x2
x5
x9
DOUBLES
10 Memorized Facts

I have 36 problems on a half sheet of each that are self graphed and self graded. A set of flash cards for home and school are used. I call home if I don't see improvement. I then send home posted it notes that I tell the parents to put all over the house, on the bathroom mirror, toilet seat, fridge, TV remote, nintendo control etc... Works like charm. I also have other kids ask the hard fact to them all the time, at recess, lunch line, whereever. They get it.

For each 10 memorized facts I do the Math the Fun way story or my own vairation. I make a sound pattern to go with it. I do this for the first 10 minutes of each math day. I rarely have any kid, regardless of IQ not be able to master all their facts by Thanksgiving.

For example

7 x3= 21 is a deep football army voice while pounding fists on table. On the last pound they put out 2 fingers and then one like a water gun.

say 6x8 is 48 Don't forget to shut the gate with a sing songy voice while taking four fingers of one hand and then the other representing a closing gate with intertwined fingers and a motion with the fingers. (the fingers are first 4 then 8 like 48.

6x7 = 42 don't forget to tie your shoe..... empahasizing TWO and stamping the feet as we do the rhyme. Also I use my fingers like the fingers are walking and then it jumps at the end like the story in Math the FUn way with the story of going over the high jump.

4x3 is 12 slapping the table and raising the hand way up on 12 saying twelVA loud.

Let's see, the weirder the better. I find my kids doing the rhymes and changing their voice and it automatically comes out like those stupid commercials that get stuck in the head and you can't get out.

7x8 is 56 A different tone clapping all the way but on the last clap I hold out one hand with five fingers and then on the word six, I hold up 6 fingers.

7x4 don't make me late, 7x4 is 28. Shaking the finger like a scolding mom again with a scolding mother's voice.

8x8 went to the store, and bought a Nintendo 64

Those are just some. I tell the kids they are weird but they work. We have fun. It's great when the kids come up with their own.

Last year, the 5th grade teachers were so impressed with my ld kids and wanted to know my secrets. My kids knew their facts better than many in general ed. So I went and worked with general ed too. My kids felt so smart becasue they already knew something the other didn't.

Posted:Jul 27, 2003 10:53:56 AM
Subject:On Speed

I agree with those that say you have to get the concepts down before you just try to memorize the facts.

I think once you have the concepts, speed drills can help to increase processing speed. I do this with my son for reading and it has increased his reading speed overall. I think his overall visual processing speed has increased as well.

He had to have all the phonological skills first.

I don't do this with math yet. I just don't think he has the underlying sequencing skills/visual spatials skills developed for speed drills in math.

I know it isn't a race and some kids will never be quick and that is ok too. I do see the benefit to helping kids develop the ability to process quickly if they can make it to that level.

I see speed drills as the last step. You have to get it before you can become quick at it.

Posted:Jul 27, 2003 12:42:18 PM

I don't disagree with what you say Linda. But the way it is done in the setting-- testing it, and so on, seems wrong. If you made more of a game of the fluency thing-- that's why I think the computer games would be better, then the "time pressure" thing is off. I think the kid in this case is going to end up hating math instead of learning all that much.

LMB Seeing Stars (I know this is reading but the concept is appropos) has some "speed" thing in the knowledge of sight words, but the pressure is off. She talks about the turtle words, (I can't think of the other words, they were the kid's idea). And he had a pack of each and tried to get the pack of fast words higher. The kid will see his fast word list go up and his turtle words lowering and this will provide some incentive and encouragement of "hey I am learning this". I think this type of thing would be more useful.
All the kid here has is poor grades, what kind of motivator is that??

--des

Posted:Jul 27, 2003 1:37:46 PM

I think the idea of speed drills is totally ridiculous before the child knows the facts automatically. If they know the facts, they can do the timed exercises. It is because they are counting in their heads, on their fingers, or wherever in order to "find" the answer. I think this is the problem.

We don't work on fluency in reading with words a child cannot read. We shouldn't be working on timed math facts before a child knows the facts.

Janis

Posted:Jul 27, 2003 5:22:14 PM

I'd forgotten about the counting on the fingers thing. If the kid still needs to do this, he doesn't know them. Or isn't too sure. I'd let him do the math with whatever tables or aids he needs at this point and try and talk the school out of the ridiculous speed drills. Hah good luck! But it is a private school, maybe there is hope.

--des

Posted:Jul 28, 2003 9:49:27 AM
Subject:Fingers

My son still uses his fingers and can figure out most problems with that as a visual cue. I believe it is because of his visual weakness (he doesn't have symbol imagery as the LMB people call it, others call it visual sequential memory.)

We do the speed drills for words that require he hold the picture of the word in his head. I tell him to take a picture of the word and then find it in the list (this is from vision builder), or a picture of the blocks (we do audiblox) and then he has to recreate what he saw from the picture in his mind.

Once this skill is solid along with sequencing he will be able to get the math facts to stick and be automatic and quick.

One of the issues with time for him is that if he has more time he will revert to the fingers. I would like to get him out of that habit and use visualization as it is a more efficient system. I wouldn't do the speed drills until he as at least some of the underlying visualization of symbols and sequencing skills intact. The speed component forces the more efficient visual skills be utillized.

Another exercise that has a visual spatial component that we do in vision therapy is the use of a tic tac toe board that is partially filled out with 'x's an 'o's. He gets to see it for less than a second and then has to fill out what he saw on his own blank tic tac toe board.

Sorry for the long post. I agree we can't just test kids but should be working on the underlying weaknesses.

Posted:Jul 29, 2003 6:59:50 PM

I know it can be hard but can this timed math test practice be discussed with any one at the school? It's more than stupid.

Let's consider a group of athletes who all want to run their mile in faster times. They run and each one is timed. Then when they run again, they each aim to beat their own best time. Each day their goal is to beat their best time by a few seconds.

Never does a coach say - "today all of you need to do the mile in 5 minutes."

It would be unheard of for a coach to say that to a group of runners. "Beat your own best time" is the way to train for speed in any endeavor.

Cutting down the time arbitrarily on children leads to pressure and stress. It assumes each child has the ability to do the problems faster and only needs to be pushed.

Could you suggest the practice of "Beat Your Best Time" to anybody?

Good luck.

Posted:Jul 31, 2003 10:43:20 AM

I'm going to try and talk to another parent who has an ADHD son at this school (older than Kyle) and see what accomadations the school has made for him. This is an expensive (for this area of the country) private school and our children recieve financial aid to attend. There is no "special education", there is a "learning lab", but your child needs to be recommended to the program and it is an extra cost above and beyond the tuition. While I haven't pressed the issue in the last year, Kyle was an A/B student (albeit he had to work for some of the A's), the impression I'm getting from the school is "We have a very advanced curriculum, and if he can't handle the work, he should either repeat 2nd or maybe look for another school" Again, we haven't sat down with the principal to discuss this, just had meetings with his classroom teachers.

I like the "Beat your best time" idea. We used that with Kyle when we practiced these timed math tests and he enjoyed it very much. I'm looking forward to a good year, aside from these tests, 2nd grade was a good year. If only I could figure out a secret to making homework painless for all of us now.

Thanks for all the suggestions, I think I liked the rhyming facts idea. I've got a tape somewhere around here that has multiplication rhymes on it. Maybe I'll play it while he's sleeping for some subliminal suggestion learning!! :lol: