My philosophy of
education is all about balance. I love
giving students the opportunity to discover math and understand the big ideas,
but I also believe that having strong math skills instills confidence in
students and leads to greater success in higher-level math. Students need to be fluent in math facts,
fraction operations, integers and more in order to have the confidence and
foundation for Algebra 1 and beyond.

If your students
don’t know their math facts, how are they going to fluently use the
Distributive Property?

If your students
don’t know how to find the least common denominator, how are they going to
solve equations involving rational numbers?

Shouldn’t they be
fluent in calculating discount and tax for its real world applications?

Many of these basic
skills

*are*used every day in real life. Let’s help give our students the gift of strong number sense.
Shana of Scaffolded Math and Science shares her perspective as a high school special education math
teacher: “Kids in high school who don’t know their multiplication facts can’t
factor quadratics. This leads them to thinking they “can’t do algebra”. This
then creates a giant brick wall for (us) to need to break down. The kids who
didn’t learn the old fashioned long division algorithm will be less comfortable
with polynomial long division in algebra 2.”

Math Skill Drills can
be used as weekly homework assignments, intervention block practice, practice
for early finishers, daily warm-ups, task cards, substitute plans, and
more! However you assign these tasks,
your students are going to benefit! Math
Skill Drills include 20 review topics from previous math classes. Each corresponding box contains a problem of
the same topic; making it easy to measure growth and identify challenges.

Students track their
own progress by recording their incorrect answers on Student Skill Logs. It is easy to visually identify strengths and
challenges in these charts. This
visualization can help students determine what questions they have during extra
help, as well as strengths they have that they could use to help other students
be successful.

Teacher’s track class
progress by tallying incorrect answers and can then provide remedial
instruction based on data. What a
wonderful way to monitor progress over the course of the year as you watch the
number of

*incorrect*tallies decrease!
I want ALL students
to feel successful when completing Free to Discover Math Skill Drills. Here are a few ideas for implementing
differentiation strategies:

1)
Give students the opportunity to turn in the
assignment to be checked before grading it.
This strategy rewards hard work and completion of the assignment ahead
of schedule. It’s very easy to make
little mistakes on these assignments. (I caught a few mistakes of my own while
I was double-checking my answer keys!) I
allow my students to turn it in 2 days before the due date, I circle incorrect
answers, and then I return the assignment to the student to be corrected before
turning it in for final grading. You
might differentiate by requiring this procedure for students who have a
challenging time with these assignments.

2)
For every three perfect scores received,
students can earn a Skill Drill Pass.
This pass can be turned in instead of a Skill Drill with no
penalty. Students who are consistently
scoring 100% can earn an occasional lighter week. Or if you’re feeling really motivated, you
could substitute in an alternate assignment every 4

^{th}assignment for students who consistently score perfectly on Math Skill Drills.
3) Allow
students to complete corrections for some credit. I want my students to master these
skills. For some students, it may take a
little longer than others. Consider
allowing students who seek remedial instruction to earn back half the lost points. I do feel like students should have to

*earn*this opportunity through extra help or extra practice.
4) Free
to Discover Math Skill Drills are available in multiple levels. Purchase the whole bundle so that students
can each complete an assignment that fits their needs. Mix and match the 6

^{th}, 7^{th}, and 8^{th}grade levels! Some of the topics overlap but all of the practice problems are unique.
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