Koala Coach

Carry Learning into Daily Life

7/7/17: The Koala Coach Truth About Math Facts and Flashcards


Giving children the message that learning is fun, is an incredible gift that parents can give to children. It is true that learning is hard work -- but hard work doesn’t have to be boring or produce suffering. In order for kids to be successful in school they have to be motivated to learn.  And motivation is achieved through understanding and confidence in the material being taught.


After working with smart, but struggling learners for the past 20 years, I know that one of the essential conditions for becoming mathematically proficient is the ability to quickly access the answers to math facts. The only way for many children to achieve rapid recall with math facts is through continual review.


Parents should be reviewing math facts in fun ways all summer long, so that kids can enter school feeling confident and ready to learn math concepts and procedures without getting bogged down by slowly recalled facts.


5 Koala Coach Truths by Lena:

1)Kids are more successful in school when they enjoy what they are doing.

2) Kids enjoy school when they understand what they are doing.

3) One of the most important aspects of understanding math concepts is the ability to quickly access math facts.

4) Flashcards are effective, but they are boring and not joyful.

5)Learning should be joyful -- find fun ways to reinforce math facts!


Seven Koala Coach non Flashcard Ideas to Review +/ - / x / ÷




Leave a deck of playing cards on the kitchen table. As kids are waiting for food to arrive, while they eat or when they are finished eating the cards are right there, ready for fact review. Take off the top card (or find a card with a number that you want your kids to work with.) Multiply, add, divide or subtract the rest of the cards in the deck from your original card. Repetitive practice with one consistent number is a powerful way to reinforce facts. Yes -- this is essentially flashcards...but it seems more fun than the average set of boring flashcards. You can even make a deal with kids that if they use the card deck to quickly review math facts, this will be followed by a REAL game of cards! Kids will start to memorize facts and also associate math fact practice with fun family time.



It’s easy and fun to incorporate math into pool time. Challenge children to swim across the pool (5+4) times, or (3x4) times. Have kids see how long they can tread water by counting by threes, sixes or thirteens! After tossing several dive sticks into the pool, shout out a math fact, like (7-4) or (9 ÷ 3). Swimmers need to dive and pick up the corresponding number of objects.




Watch the “Chalkboard Table” video and turn your kitchen table into a chalkboard to review math facts and encourage kids to clean up at the same time!



Watch the “Night Kisses” video to review math facts at the end of the day with your kids!



Watch the original Bills and Skills video: “Lego Learning” to review math facts written on Legos!



Watch the latest Bills and Skills: Basketball Bill Pay “to review math facts with a fun basketball game played on recycled bills!



Sneak a fact to be answered into the letter that you write your kids! Dear Eli, I miss you! Do you remember what 8x7 equals? We went swimming today and it just wasn't the without you! Love, Mom.


Almost any activity lends itself to the reinforcement of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division fact review.

Don’t believe me … send me a message naming ANY summer activity, and I’ll figure out a way to incorporate math fact practice!




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