Sprints were invented by Dr. Yoram Sagher, a brilliant mentor/trainer for many of us as we implemented Singapore Primary Maths. The Sprint is designed to develop automaticity with previously learned material in an adrenaline-rich, motivating classroom experience. Can students look forward to the same passion they feel on the playground in a math class? Yes! Each step of the Sprint process has a purpose, so understand the directions for administration. You can watch Tricia Salerno's administration of a Sprint in second grade on YouTube. Bill Davidson's grade 5 Sprint Video is also on YouTube. Please see the note below regarding adjustments to the process. Like The Pattern Box, Sprints are an essential part of a strong fluency program.


A Note on the Implementation of Sprints

Each component of Dr. Sagher's process for the delivery of the Sprint has a purpose and intent. However, those components may not work for a given set of students and/or the culture of the learning community. The most essential element is the students' immediate awareness of their improvement, or their potential for improvement from the first to the second half of the sprint.

Therefore, we ask you to use your professional judgement to maintain or return the joy factor. One of the beauties of a Sprint is the thoughtful sequence of questions. The following are modifications we have seen be successful.

  • Focus on the mathmatics.  "Talk to your partner about a pattern you noticed within the Sprint." "Look at questions 14 - 17, how are they related to questions 18 - 21?"
  • Focus on strategies. "Explain to your partner a strategy you used for a problem that slowed you down or was hard for you."  "Show your partner a problem that challenged you. Ask him/her to explain his solution strategy."
  • Tone down the correction process. For example, after communicating the answers to a set of questions, the teacher can ask students if there is someone who has gone beyond a given number. The teacher continues giving the answers if there is. This omits the "yes" and any theatrics accompanying a correct answer.
  • When celebrating improvement, rather than focusing on the number of problems correctly answered, focus on alternates such as, "Who was able to do a problem correctly today that they missed before?" "Who was able to be honest about finding a mistake today?"
  • Focus on those who have improved rather than those who have completed the most. This can be done in a general way, "Raise your hand if you improved on the second Sprint." or more specifically, "Raise your hand if improved on your correct answers in problems 1 through 11."
  • Offer the students the Sprint for the next day to take home either the day or week before. This offer might be extended to those who struggle or the whole class, depending on your professional judgement.
  • Continue to focus students' attention on their own accomplishment, rather than comparing themselves to their peers.


Another beauty of the Sprint is that it "smokes out" the belief potentially articulated this way in a student's mind: "She/he is good at math. I am not."  Whether we like it or not, this is occuring in our classrooms. The Sprint gives us an opportunity to address it directly and regularly. Each student must make peace with their own personal best and see that practice and hard work results in improved fluency.



Buy Sprints Aligned to Primary Mathematics!

written by Bill Davidson

To order Sprints email Bill Davidson at bdavidson40@gmail.com

Watch Bill adminster a grade 5 sprint on YouTube!!