# Back to Basics with 21st Century Math April 24, 2015 13:30

For over 35 years Excel Math has been helping students build solid math skills. And those rigorous math lessons continue to help students succeed today.

In Excel Math our Student Lesson Sheets for Grades 1 - 6 include a section called Basic Fact Practice.

Students complete these problems after the Lesson section and before the Guided Practice (unless you choose to use these problems as bell work).

In this way, basic math facts are practiced regularly. Students have a chance to get basic facts into their long-term memory and continue reviewing them throughout the year.

Here's an example of addition and subtraction fact practice on the Excel Math Student Lesson Sheets for Grade 2:

The Basic Fact Practice portion of the Student Lesson Sheet can be used as a way to start your math period or as bell work so students are on task the minute they enter the classroom. The problems will be fairly easy at first (helping students build their confidence) but will increase in difficulty during the year. Excel Math gives students a chance to practice basic facts for several weeks before we ask them to use those facts in complex problems.

Basic Fact Practice is also included on the Projectable Lessons CD for Grades 1-6. Have your students solve the equations on your smart board or white board while the whole class focuses together on the problems. The first Projectable slide shows the problems with blank areas for the student to write the answers. The subsequent slide shows the answers in red. You can use this Basic Fact Practice as a daily timed quiz or read the problems aloud before projecting them for *aural* practice of basic math facts.

Typically the first six weeks of a grade in Excel Math will review content presented during the first two-thirds of the prior year. You can give your incoming students an **Excel Math** Placement Test to help determine where they should start in math.

These easy-to-use placement tests can be combined with basic fact skills tests to assess your students’ readiness for math.

Print the placement tests by clicking on the images below. Placement tests are available in English and Spanish. Send us an email or comment with your email address and we'll send you the answer key. Use the test to determine where a student should start in the Excel Math program.

Click on Products or Store Home in the menu bar above or download the Order Form when you are ready to order Excel Math Lessons. Leave a comment in the box below if you have questions or would like to receive a sample packet of Excel Math lessons (specify Common Core, Texas or Standard Edition).

Each Placement Test file contains six tests that evaluate a student’s preparedness for Excel Math. The tests are labeled A – F, which correspond to first – sixth grade. Instructions for using the tests are included.

If students have trouble with the evaluation test for a particular grade, it shows they have only a partial grasp of the previous year’s work.

It may be difficult for your students to work through one lesson per day.

After the first six weeks, the Lesson Sheets will introduce new concepts and concepts from the end of the prior year. Therefore, progress will be slower than the first six weeks.

The placement evaluation tests are cumulative. Sometimes concepts are not tested because the students have already shown mastery on the test for the prior year.

We suggest you give students one or more tests depending on your knowledge of their ability level.

Excel Math also provides a web page with Timed Basic Fact Practice for students who need additional math fact practice with addition, subtraction, multiplication and/or division. Students can do this timed practice on their computers for bell work, when they finish an assignment early, or whenever you have a few minutes left at the end of class.

Let them see how many correct answers they can get in 60 seconds and then try to beat their personal best.