# Fact Fluency Through Subitizing

Last summer, along with a few other math bloggers, I did a book study on the book Teaching Student Centered Mathematics By John Van de Walle, LouAnn Lovin, Karen Karp, and Jennifer Bay-Williams. Chapter 8 revolved around developing number sense and outlined a series of important number relationships. One of these number relationships includes benchmarks of 5 and 10. When we return from break I will be focusing on benchmarks of 5 and fact fluency with 5+ facts… but maybe not in the way you would expect.

Take a quick look at this picture:

How many snowflakes did you see? Chances are you knew that there were 7 without having to count each individual snowflake. You saw a group of 5 and 2 more and knew that there were 7. My students are able to do this as well. They see the picture and say “7” and can even articulate “I saw a 5 and then I know 2 more is 7” or “I saw a 5 and a 2 and that makes 7”.
But for my tier 3 students if I were to show them the equation 5 + 2 they would NOT automatically say 7. Until this next week that is 🙂

Sometimes all it takes is a little push to make what is intuitive in one setting -visual dot patterns- a piece of knowledge that can be generalized into other settings.
In order to make the 5+ facts automatic for my students I will go back to flashing dot pictures (or snowflake pictures 🙂 ) asking how many and having explicit conversations about what they knew, how they knew it and what this might look like in other forms.

Questions and prompts will include:
*How many snowflakes do you see?
*How do you know?
*What parts do you see in the picture?
*Could you write a number bond that shows those parts?
*What would the total be?
*What equation matches the snowflakes and your number bond?

Another variation of this activity will include flashing a dot picture and then asking students to reproduce the picture using bingo dabbers or Q-tips and paint. They could then create a number bond and number sentence that match what they know.

Finally, I would end a lesson by throwing in some 5+ flashcards mixed with other facts that they know such as 1+ or 0+ facts. I do want my students to become automatic in their facts and these activities will allow them to be automatic, however, I never want my students to overgeneralize a new understanding. If you want to read more on how I strategically use flash cards you can read this post here.

**The snowflake 5 facts activity highlighted in this post is a part of my winter themed math centers for first grade students found HERE*