Why You Should Use Math Skill Drills This Year

Why you should use math skill drills this year

your students need strong math skills

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.”

your students will benefit from free to discover skill drills

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. 

consistently reinforce number sense skills with math skill drills

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. 

students measure and monitor their own growth with student skill logs

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!

teachers can collect class data with the teachers logs

your students will appreciate the difference differentiation makes

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.
7th grade math skill drill

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 4th 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 6th, 7th, and 8th grade levels!   Some of the topics overlap but all of the practice problems are unique.

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