Computation and Procedures

Problem on whiteboard
  • When learning computational and procedural math skills, over time students should be provided with multiple and frequent opportunities to practice the skills in order to commit those skills to memory.  Be careful with practice though, students must be motivated to want to improve their performance.
    So, how do we motivate students to improve their performance?  Try establishing clear and specific learning goals.  Then have students set small achievable goals for improvement which they monitor with some kind of visual tracking - a graph, a chart, etc.  Acknowledge a student's efforts and achievements and provide timely and effective feedback.  Most importantly, don't give up.  Believe that all of your students can learn and make sure that they know you believe it!

    n the elementary grades, one of the most important computational skills that leads to greater mathematical success is the mastery of math facts.  Research shows that three components or steps help children develop automaticity.  

    Teachers should... 

    1. Help children develop a strong understanding of number relationships.
    2. Help children develop efficient strategies for fact retrieval through practice.  (Counting is not efficient.)
    3. Provide practice in the use and selection of those strategies once they have been developed.