Friday, 31 May 2013

Friday Game Day... practicing fluency

This week, I had a couple of training days, one of the sessions I went to was about Peter Sullivan's six principles for teaching mathematics... it was an awesome session!
One of the principles that the presenter (Matt... I'm not sure of his last name, sorry!) talked about was fluency.... and a great way to develop fluency with number is through short daily tasks that require mental computation or manipulating number.
He shared one of Peter's games with us... it was so easy, needed no prep and can be easily differentiated, just the sort of game I love :)
So, I thought I'd share it with you too...
Students work in pairs, they'll need a piece of paper to share and a pencil each  (we have individual whiteboards for the kids, which I'm planning to use instead).
The first person writes down either a 0 or a 1 - the second person can either add on 1 or 2, then the first person has another turn. This continues until one player can write 10 - they are the winner! Super simple, super easy, and you can play 5 or more games in a few minutes. This is really handy for developing fluency because kids need to do the +1/+2 quickly in their head, but also, they'll soon realise that they need to plan ahead and predict moves, which involves even more mental computation and strategy. 
(Spoiler alert..... there's a number quite early on in the sequence that you should try to get because it can guarantee that you'll win..... it's interesting to see which kids pick up on this!)
To make the game more difficult, students can play first to 20 or 50, or they could add 3 and 4 or 5 and 10 - any numbers really... there are so many possibilities! It can also be played to practice fractions (first to 5 1/2... adding 1/4 or 1/2) or decimals or even units of measurement (first to 1 metre... adding 5 or 10 cm). I'm really looking forward to trying this with some of the classes I work with... I think the kids will love it!
I'd love to hear about how you develop fluency in your classroom too :)


  1. A training day about Peter Sullivan's Six Principals, that would be fantastic! I will have to look into it - I love his open-ended book!

    Teaching Maths with Meaning

  2. I love his open-ended book too Alison... it's one of my favourite go-to books for Maths!