After exploring and investigating numerous math sites, we played a few rounds of 4-player game. I like the notion of adding some friendly competition in the classroom. Not only do students get to apply their knowledge, they must do so effectively in order to win. I think that incorporating a few activities like this every once in a while would be a nice treat for students.
I like that the author explained the difference between practice and drill. If students have not had sufficient time to learn and do not understand the concepts, drill basically becomes ineffective for the student. I can just picture a little student that does not completely understand subtraction being bombarded with flashcards... not the best idea. It will be my duty as a math teacher to ensure proper instruction and sufficient practice activities so that drill activities will be a breeze for my students!
Having students identify and come up with strategies as well as elaborate on other classmates' strategies is a great concept. The class becomes involved with the strategies and students understand the strategies because they are able to explain them to other students.
The activities included in this chapter were insightful for me because they reminded me of the types of activities that I completed back in the day. Although 7+8 requires next to no thought for me, it is important to remember that young math learners still need to develop the speed and ease needed to solve the question. I particularly like the strategy of near double facts and the use of the ten frame in developing number sense relationships. The ten frame provides a visual for the students and with practice, they will be able to see the ten frame in their head and complete drill activities promptly.
It was neat reading about the division strategies because the author questions whether students are practicing multiplication or division when completing a page of division facts. When I think about it, I rarely use division because I tend to solve the problem from the multiplication perspective. Interesting.
All in all, the usefulness of mastering basic mental math extends far beyond the classroom. Students can practice mental math in every day situations without even knowing it! I certainly do.