Saturday, September 26, 2015

Top 5 Tips for Mastering Multiplication in a Month

Every year it is the same. I give my new 5th graders a 25 problem single digit multiplication assessment and it is obvious by the results, most do not know their facts.

I know it was taught in previous grades, but yet the retention by many just isn't there. For my first few years of teaching I basically just drilled all students expecting them to master the facts in a timed pressure cooker. What I wasn't realizing was that some students just don't learn that way. I finally changed my ways about 15 years ago and started offering different strategies to my students.

Below I will highlight my top 5 tips to mastering multiplication in a month.

1. Make up Raps
Yes, you heard me right. Allow the students to make up a rap about the facts they are having trouble with. It is amazing how much more they will retain if they are given the freedom to create their own raps/rhymes about the facts they struggle with. I have a created a rap for the 6s, 7s, and 8s. You can download it for free here.
FREE Multiplication Facts Rap Game Activity for 6, 7, and 8s

2. Game Boards
This one is quite simple. Grab any old game board where students have to shake dice to move forward. The catch is that whatever number is rolled on the dice relates to counting down in the flash card pile and solving that problem. For example, a student rolls a "5." The student would go to the stack of flash cards, count down to the fifth one, and solve the problem. If s/he gets it correct, the game piece stays on the spot. If the answer is wrong, the game piece goes back to the starting point before the dice was rolled.

3. War
This is by far my students' favorite game! Break your students up into partners. Take out the kings, queens, and jacks. Leave in the ace as a value of 1. Deal out all the cards face down equally to each player. Then when a players says "go," each person flips up a card. Whoever multiplies the two numbers correctly first wins the cards. Play continues until one person has all the cards. To add a little challenge you can use the kings, queens,and jacks as well with values higher than 10. 

4. Practice strips
These are real easy to make. Basically, you type out the multiples of each number up to 10 in rows in a Microsoft Word document, making sure to leave spaces between each set of numbers. For example, on one line you would have: 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, 21, 24, 27, and 30. Then on the next line: 4, 8, 12, 16, 20, 24, 28, 32, 36, and 40. When you have finished with the facts you want, you cut them out into strips, copy them on to card stock, laminate them and then bind with a ring at the top corner. Now you have made an easy flip book of multiplication facts for your students! Click here to download this free resource.

5. Practice at Home
Students still need to practice their facts. At the beginning of the year, I send home the flash cards that come with our math curriculum. But you can find free flash cards online as well. Have parents make it a special time with their child. You may want to  Click here for some free flash cards to download.

There are so many other great tips out there to mastering multiplication. We'd love to hear what you use in your classroom!

Click here to purchase our super bundle of multiplication intervention activities with over 50 pages or resources included.


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