SuperSpeed Math is a program within the Whole Brain Teaching system that helps students master their basic facts in a fun, game-like format. I’ve been using it with my students for several months now. I enjoy the simplicity of the program and my students enjoy challenging themselves to beat their records. It did take some getting use to at first, but now that we’ve gotten the hang of it, we’re rolling right along!
Improvement Not Competition
SuperSpeed Math was created by Chris Biffle, founder of Whole Brain Teaching. Students practice their math facts with a partner in 60 seconds, but they aren’t competing against each other – just trying to beat their own score. As the student who was always the last to be finished on her facts test, I well remember the “walk of shame” my teacher made me take when I turned in my test. Unlike the facts tests I grew up with, the goal in SuperSpeed Math is for each student to improve upon their own score – not just be the first one done.
SuperSpeed Math Fun
One of the features I like most about SuperSpeed Math is the efficiency of using it with my students. Instructional time is about as valuable as pure gold, and I don’t want to waste a single minute of it. While knowing basic math facts is an important skill, by 4th grade I just don’t feel that I can devote a huge amount of time to it. SuperSpeed Math can be done (and done well!) in only about 10 minutes a day. Here’s a video from a class that shows you just how easy it is to use this fun practice with students.
There are two levels with each operation, and as you might expect, the first is easier than the second. That’s for a reason – it builds confidence and skill before students move on to a more challenging format. Level One presents the facts in numerical order, but Level Two has them arranged in random order. A student really has to know their math facts to advance at this level. SuperSpeed Math allows teachers to differentiate the levels they assign since students are trying to beat their own record.
To give students sufficient practice at all their math facts, we follow a study schedule that has been working well in Room 411:
- Monday – Addition
- Tuesday – Subtraction
- Wednesday – Multiplication
- Thursday – Division
- Friday – The Gnarlies (the most difficult math facts to master)
Just to confirm that our practice is translating into a real mastery, whenever I give a math assessment part of that assessment includes an online facts test. It’s quick and easy to give and provides me with an individual snapshot of a students’ knowledge of their facts. Of course, if you prefer giving paper tests, just make copies of the SuperSpeed tests (whichever level or operation you need) and give those instead. It will be a format your students are familiar with and provide you with evidence of their learning.
Revising the Tests
One of the problems I had to overcome about using SuperSpeed Math with my students was the content. The program was written according to California state standards, which required students to learn their facts 0-10. My state sets the bar higher at facts up to 12. I solved this problem by revising the original into including facts for 11 and 12. What a chore! Now that it’s finished, though, I’m glad I invested the time to bring it up to my state’s standards. You can get all 10 of my revised tests for free by visiting my store, The Reflective Educator.
I’ve also incorporated SuperSpeed Math as part of my daily homework. It’s set up similar to our weekly schedule with an emphasis on multiplication and division:
- 1st Quarter – Multiplication, Level One
- 2nd Quarter – Division, Level One
- 3rd Quarter – Multiplication, Level Two
- 4th Quarter – Division, Level Two
Students spend one minute each night studying their facts. One minute may not sound like much, but growth is seen gradually due to the accumulated effect of daily, focused study. Plus, it’s something parents feel confident helping their child practice. I’m glad I made the effort to make SuperSpeed Math part of my classroom instructional routines. I want learning to be fun for my students, but the end goal is that they should actually learn. This program ensures that everyone in Room 411 gets what they want…and it only takes 60 seconds!