July 20, 2017

Memorizing Multiplication Facts

I was sitting here working on a new resource and my mind wandered to a conversation I had yesterday with my cousin regarding multiplication facts
She is a middle school teacher down in the Denver area and we were discussing ideas of how she could reinforce multiplication facts with her students; helping 
students improve their fluency.




When teaching, I was having 6th graders come in with a lack of basic multiplication fact knowledge. I noticed when we were getting into other math content in 7th and 8th grade, I was beginning to see a lack of basic multiplication fact knowledge too...


 I feel there are so many other 'things' we have to teach, that the basics of math are falling through the cracks unfortunately. So I took matters into my own hands and started carving out time before and/or after instruction to practice. I wanted students to be prepared math students for the upcoming classes they would encounter along with being prepared for daily life. 


Basic multiplication facts are a daily encounter!


Students need basic math facts for so many reasons. I ran across this article, The Importance of Memorizing the Times Table and loved it! It really explained the 'why' we need to understand and memorize the multiplication facts. 




"Just like learning to walk before you can run, learning multiplication and memorizing the times tables are building blocks for other math topics taught in school – higher learning such as division, long multiplication, fractions and algebra. Students who have not memorized the times tables will find these levels of math much more difficult than they need to be." 
- Susan Jarema from Googol Learning 




It is not only a building block for higher learning in school, but also in the real world.  Outside of a school setting these are everyday encounters students 
will need to know their basic multiplication facts; 
* Grocery Shopping
* Tips
* Car Repair
* Travel
* Photography
* Stocks
* Bank Account
* Loans
* Career Choices
...and sooo many more! Multiplication facts really become a part of 
ones everyday life. 


Sooo, after my cousin and I ended our discussion of the why's of how important it is - and we absolutely agreed whole heartedly of how important they are. I offered a few suggestions.  I suggested these amazing Math Fact Punch Cards I had bought from Totally Terrific in Texas


I bought these cards, printed them off with all my kiddos names on fancy the Astrobrights (Favorite!!) paper and laminated them. Students would complete an online self correcting quiz for the number family they were working on - 2's, 4's, 8's ...etc through 12's. They could not skip any of the families, they had to complete them in order. When they completed them, they would call me over. I would check their score and whole punch their number if they completed that fact family. 



There are many ways you could complete this; by having students complete the online self corrected quizzes or by having them quiz one another with flash cards. I have created these awesome Multiplication Fact Flash Cards that are a 
FREEBIE in my Teachers Pay Teachers store that you could use. They are a smaller size, which is perfect to print multiple sets of the fact families. 
I had students go the website Multiplication Self Directed Family Quizzes and they would choose which self directed quiz they were on. I taught at a 1:1 classroom, so finding a way to incorporate the laptops was always essential. The website is very neat! It allows students to print off flash cards for all the problems they completed and incorrect answers only. 


They provide fun little sayings with them too - "Hive x Skate = Fort E (5 x 8 = 40)." 


Along with that they can print off an answer key, corrected quiz and a result summary all in a PDF. Students could print off any of these an turn them in to you as well if you do not have time to get around to students. Highly recommend if you are looking to be paperless!






I reached out to some math friends and they shared some ideas on helping students memorize multiplication facts. It does NOT have to be 
boring for students - make it fun



My friend over at Lessons With Coffee wrote two amazing blog posts about how students CAN'T and CAN multiply! I love how she had a Face Off Competition between her boys and girls and showed the results in her CAN post! 

6th Graders CAN'T Multiply
There is a fun video to show your students on patterns with all the fact families. It is so neat! A fun new way for those that need a different view of the fact families. While your there - you can snag her FREEBIE she created to help the students timing themselves alone - Rainbow Write!

6th Graders CAN Multiply 
LOVE seeing results and knowing that with a little help and practice - we can help students increase their fluency!



*Skip counting songs! I honestly had never heard of these songs, did some Googling and found some fun'ny' ones to try out with your kids --
Adding a few giggles is always fun for middle schoolers :) 


*I loved using tricks in the classroom too, students always thought it was something new and fun! Math is Fun does a great job at laying out all the tricks and tips for the fact families.  


Students can learn their multiplication facts - it is possible! With practice and persistence we can help those students improve their fluency! I will note with the help of the Math Fact Punch Cards and using Multiplication Flash Cards in between the testing times; over 90% of my students increased their fluency of their multiplication facts through the 12's. As teachers, we want to help students get to where they need to be. WE are always trying to find ways to change things up in the classroom, adding in new ideas, lessons and more. Hopefully the ideas above will help you and your students! 



What are some ideas you can share that have helped your students memorize their multiplication facts? Please share in the comments below! 




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