Knowing multiplication facts help students see the patterns and relationships between numbers that are needed to be successful in other areas of math! Division, renaming fractions, and balancing equations are just a few examples where being able to recall facts quickly and correctly are extremely helpful!
So what do you do as a teacher or a parent of upper elementary or older students who have not mastered the multiplication facts?
- Meet them where they are! Find out what they know and celebrate that! You can use fast fact sheets found online like this, or quiz them with flash cards. I recommend recording what they know on a chart or form and then using this information to give positive reinforcement for facts they know and to identify facts still to work on.
- Review Skip Counting! Most students are pretty good with multiplying by 2,5, and 10 because they started skip counting by 2, 5 and 10 in Kindergarten and/or 1st grade. They had a lot of repetition! So give your students opportunities to practice skip counting by all the other numbers! Repetition is key here! Sing songs like the ones on the CD Multiplication Motivation or find YouTube Videos!
- Add short practice sessions to your daily routine! No one learns to walk or talk in one hour long class! We all learned to walk and talk through many hours of practice! So find a few minutes here and a few minutes there to ask about and reinforce facts! Driving to soccer practice? Quiz your child on some facts. Lining up for recess? Ask your students some facts!
- Online Games and Smart Phone Apps: Children and teens love electronics, right! So, let’s use that to our advantage here! Hook them up with games on the level they need to practice! Here are two games you might try:
5. Flash Cards! I know that sounds old school and boring, but flash cards can be very effective. You can have your students review flash cards on their own for small periods of time and also use the flash cards to play a game of War, or Connect Four!
6. Pencil and Paper Practice! I think that pencil and paper practice is a great way to review the facts and commit them to memory. I especially like to give short pencil paper work after a student has played a game or watched a video with the facts!
7. Celebrate Success! As your students improve take time to acknowledge their success! You can make charts or graphs to show improvement or tie a special reward to mastering a certain set of facts! The type of celebration/acknowledgement will vary by age and interest.