A few minutes of oral / mental math at the start of each day has been shown to be very effective at consolidating key understandings. About 5 minutes seems to be a good amount of time.
The concepts discussed should be critical ideas for the year, weaknesses the teacher hopes to remediate, or past skills that will be used in that day’s lesson. For example, if measuring things using a large number of paperclips is the topic, then a couple of minutes on grouping items by 10 to count would fit in.
Some studies that have looked at the implementation of the oral math time found teachers tended to spend too long on the mental math section, which rushed their lessons and consolidation. Teachers should strive to pick small discrete skills that can be practiced (not learned) in a 5 minute time frame.
SPOTLIGHT ON RESOURCES
Mental Math in the Primary Grades
|This book is in every AMDSB math PD library. It contains daily lessons to develop mental math skills. Many of the activities can be trimmed for short daily mental math time.|
Mental Math Booklet
This is a booklet containing daily mental math prompts for grade 1. It’s out of the U.S. (Iowa Heartland Education Area 11), but the prompts would fit in well with our curriculum.