Friday, November 20, 2015

5 Fun Ideas for Mastering Multiplication

So I'll be there first to admit that on some math concepts I am the one saying "When will I ever use this again?!?"  But that is not the case with multiplication.  Multiplication is one of those skills that I use all the time in the real world.  After all, isn't that what education is for - preparing for the real world?  I am currently working on multiplication with my son and I know that he is not the only kiddo out there that struggles in this area.  Here are some great resources for changing the dread into fun and helping your students or child with multiplication!

Times Tales teaches kids the upper times tables without rote memorization. Students can simply follow along with the entertaining story. As they progress, they'll be guided into associating the stories they've learned with real math. You can always find the Times Tales DVD at a discount on!  

Hundreds of kids have learned their times tables in an hour using a very fun & easy to understand animated video. The Times Tales DVD is a two-part video series that uses stories to teach multiplication to kids. The videos use cute, simple stories that provide students with a "memory peg," allowing them to quickly recall otherwise abstract multiplication facts. As students progress through the video, they'll learn multiplication without even knowing it! It's that easy!  

I don't know that I have actually timed how long we have watched the videos so I can't say whether he has learned his facts in an hour.  But I can say that the stories, images and memory pegs are great ways for learning.  This DVD focuses on the harder to learn facts and definitely makes it easier and fun!

Here's a video to show you what the Times Tales lessons are like.

What Educents customers are saying about Times Tales:

"Fun and effective! Did in 2 weeks what other curriculum didn't do in a year!"

"My kids did NOT want to like this when I first opened it up, but they ended up liking it a LOT! They kept trying to "figure it out" so it took a while for my 2nd and 4th grader to just relax and watch the stories. We followed the recommended pace, and in 2 weeks this DVD solidified what other methods could not do for them in a year! Even my 3 yr old shouts out the answers to some of the quiz questions! Of course she doesn't understand what she's learning yet, but when her time comes, learning her multiplication facts will be painless and easy :) Definitely recommend this program to anyone who has stressed over drilling boring multiplication facts into their kids! You WILL Love it! :)" -ML

"I can’t even imagine how many less papers my 5th grade teacher would have had to grade if we had this in my elementary school! We did multiplication drills every single day during our 2nd semester! Using this DVD really beats that." - Celena J.
Buy Now

2.  Legos and Multiplication

This hands-on activity uses legos to reinforce multiplication facts. Source: SchoolTimesSnippet
Source: SchoolTimesSnippet

This hands-on activity uses Legos to reinforce multiplication facts. What a great way to build the understanding of the concept of multiplication.  I'm a firm believer that just knowing multiplication facts is not enough.  Kids need to understand the concept of using multiplication to "add" equal groups.  Legos are also a great way to introduce the concept of an array.  An array is a visual representation of multiplication using columns and rows.  Here's a quick practice sheet I made by choosing different sized Legos and copying them on a sheet of paper.  We used this practice to help us see that multiplication is the same as repeated addition.

3.  Multiplication Games
My son LOVES playing games during our school time.  Any time I can take a skill and turn it into a game I do because his engagement sky-rockets and so does his learning.  As a classroom teacher I love using games too!  It's a fun and easy way to help kids learn and still let kids be kids.  Here's a couple free multiplication games you might like.

This first game is perfect for introducing multiplication concepts.  It uses pictures to help introduce the concept and also makes the connection between multiplication and repeated addition.

This next game is great for practicing multiplication facts.  We love playing this Uno style math game!  

4.  Math Craftivity

Visual way to teach multiplication to your student. Source: Lemon Lime Adventures
Source: Lemon Lime Adventures

I need to tell you upfront that I have not done this yet.  But I love the idea and the visual pattern that is seen doing this activity.  It is on our to do list in the next couple of weeks!  You can find out more about the Patterned Multiplication Circles by Lemon Lime Adventures. 

5.  Math Fact Drills

Math Facts are one of those areas that I still believe in the old drill style.  As I said earlier I believe that kids must understand the concept of multiplication, but there's no better way to learn the facts quickly than just to drill them over and over.  We love Xtra Math for practicing our math facts.

This free, online program is perfect for developing math fact fluency.  It is available not only for multiplication, but also for addition, subtraction and division.  It tracks each students progress and continues them at their own pace.  In about 5 minutes a day your students or child can work on developing math fact fluency in a fun way!  There are three short rounds of practice each focusing on a different aspect of the math fluency process.  My son really loves the Race the Teacher section and the page that shows how many facts he got correct in a row! 

I hope that you've gotten some ideas for making multiplication fun and exciting.  Using a variety of methods will definitely keep your learners active and engaged in the process.  If you have a favorite activity to use in teaching multiplication share it in the comments below!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Help With Teaching Rhyming

Rhyming - oh where to begin.  For some kids it comes so easy, almost naturally.  For others, it is such a struggle.  Every year I pull out my bag of tricks but there always seem to be 1 or 2 that are still stuck when it comes to rhyming.

This is from one of my absolute favorite rhyming books - Rhyming Dust Bunnies!
Click the picture to find the book on Amazon.
Recently I was browsing through a kindergarten Facebook group I am part of and came across this amazing video by Iva Switzer.  Iva is veteran kindergarten teacher from Southeast Texas.  In her 24 years of teaching, I'm positive she has helped lots of students with teaching methods like this one that she has picked up over the years.

Take a couple minutes to watch this multi-sensory approach to rhyming.


Any time you can use multiple senses, you are opening up multiple pathways to the brain to help the learning stick.  Using Iva's method, students will be using their sense of sight (as they look at a picture or word), their sense of hearing (as they hear the teacher and themselves say the word) and their sense of touch as they use their hands to represent the sounds in the word.

Thank you Iva for sharing this great teaching method for rhyming!

If you have a way you love to teach rhyming, share it in the comments below.

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