Teaching multiplication facts is easier than you think! By third or fourth grade, kids are ready to focus on learning their times tables. Start the year with Math Facts Baseball! Students love going to bat, especially when they hit a home run.
Ms. Sneed Explains Teaching Multiplication Facts
“Welcome to Back-to-School Night,” Ms. Sneed said. Parents of all shapes and sizes sat hunched in the fourth grade desks.
“Let’s talk about multiplication facts.” The parents squirmed.
“Within the first nine weeks of school, I expect all students to be fluent with facts to nine.” She heard a low groan issue from the audience.
“It’s easier than you think. Did you know that there are only 36 facts?” The parents perked up. Ms. Sneed showed a slide with the facts listed.
“Here’s the process we will use,” Ms. Sneed continued.
“Are you kidding me?” said a man with glasses. “I’ve been working with my son all summer. He already knew his facts up to five. So he only had ten more facts to learn. Why was it so hard?”
“Most people quiz kids on all facts. Instead, you need to focus only on those the child does not yet know. Let’s look at some helpful tips. First, tackle the nines.”
“I see,” said the man with the glasses. “9 x 7 = 63. The 6 is one less than 7. And 6 + 3 = 9.”
“Right. This pattern really helps kids with their nines. Rhyming helps too. For example, 6 x 6 is 36, and 6 x 8 is 48. By this time, kids only have three more facts to learn.”
The parents looked really relieved. “I’ll be working with them at school,” said Ms. Sneed, “but I’ll also need your help at home. You can use this grid to keep track of the facts your child knows.”
Teaching Multiplication Facts with Math Facts Baseball
“My fourth graders love playing Math Facts Baseball!” said Ms. Sneed.
“Somehow, with all these baseball players in your slides, I knew this was where we were going,” said the man with the glasses.
Ms. Sneed grinned. “Yep. Let’s take a look at the game. Kids will use One inning of the game is played each week. I’ll rotate through different forms of this test. Some have horizontal problems, and some have vertical.”
“During the first three weeks, I’ll give kids a long time to complete each section – three minutes. Then, as they get better, I’ll take it down to two minutes.
“We’ll grade the tests together. For each test with a score of 100%, the student gets one base:
- 1 test 100% correct = single
- 2 tests 100% correct = double
- 3 tests 100% correct = triple
- 4 tests 100% correct = home run
“I’ll circulate through the classroom as they test. That way, I’ll know who’s struggling – and coach them individually. Every third inning, I’ll collect their papers. If your child is having a hard time with the facts, I’ll also be in touch with you. Then we can work together. I want every student to experience success.”
Ms. Sneed displayed a website on the screen. “Your child can use online flashcards on Quick Flash II to practice. Fact Navigator will generate and score an online test. Set a goal of two minutes. These tools from Multiplication.com are so helpful.”
As Back-to-School Night came to a close, the parents breathed a sigh of relief – and Ms. Sneed did too. Teaching multiplication facts suddenly seemed doable.
Over the course of her career, Ms. Sneed realized that there were 6 steps to enjoy teaching. In order to survive, she had to organize, plan, and simplify. Then, to thrive, Ms. Sneed needed to learn, engage, and finally – dive in! Follow the Fabulous Teaching Adventures of Ms. Sneed and learn how you can enjoy teaching too.