Most of the time, your lesson will start off with a few fluency activities.
The types of activities used will vary by lesson; however, they always tie into the main skills students will be using. Fluency practice may be easy to skip if you’re short on time, but it is incredibly important.
According to the Common Core, the definition of fluency is “fast and accurate.” With Eureka, this is more than just taking timed tests. The fluency portion of the lesson helps students to quickly and accurately apply strategies for mental math.
There are many different fluency activities, but here are a few examples:
These are just some of the examples of fluency activities that Eureka uses. You have some flexibility with how you use this portion of the lesson - whether you just do a whole group choral response, or get more creative with it is up to you.
However, I do NOT recommend skipping it altogether, as it really is an important part of the lesson. As mentioned before, you do not have to do ALL the activities - simply pick one or two that would be of most value to the class, and focus your time on those activities. Remember to do your best to stick to the suggested time limit.
Some lessons have timed tests called Sprints. However, these are not traditional timed tests in the sense that students are expected to complete a certain number of problems within the time limit. These are just a written form fluency practice.
Each lesson will have 2 sprints - Sprint A and Sprint B. The two sprints are very similar as they practice the same skill, but the problems will be slightly different. The purpose is for students to first complete Sprint A, then check their work, then try to improve their score on Sprint B.
Contrary to how timed tests typically work, students are NOT expected to complete every problem in the time given! Students are only expected to do their best on Sprint A, and then to try to improve on Sprint B. That’s it!
Here is the suggested routine for doing sprints:
It is important to remind students that they are only in competition with themselves. One of the issues with timed tests is that students often feel discouraged if they don’t finish. Therefore, it is critical to really establish a classroom environment where all students understand that they are not expected to finish - only to do their best. This is the key to making sure your sprints are successful!
Successful Fluency Practice
One of the most important things to remember with the Eureka lessons is to customize them to meet your students’ needs, and to stick to the time suggestions. Remember that more is given to you than you can reasonably complete in an hour. Choose the aspects of the fluency practice that would be most beneficial to your students, and stick with those.
Also realize that while the activities are very scripted and give you numbers to use for the fluency activities, you do not have to stick with those numbers! Feel free to do more or less as needed for your class. Customization is key with Eureka!
Next time, we’ll talk about the another important component of Eureka lessons: the application problem.
Classroom Teacher Doctor of Education
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