If you’ve been following my blog posts about using a different approach to teaching mathematics, you’re probably wondering what happened next? I can positively say that the entire experience has been phenomenal. My students have a strong understanding of the concept of multiplication. They are not afraid to tackle word problems. They have multiple strategies for multiplying. Overall, the experience has been a success and I am going forward with it until the end of the school year!
My class is now at the stage in which we are learning all the “tricks” and “tips” needed to learn the multiplication tables. Let’s face it, in the end the students do need to memorize the multiplication facts and multiply with fluency, to quote a term in the CCSS for math. So for the past 2 weeks we have been learning lots of tricks to memorize, tips to learning each table of multiplication facts, and collecting these as a resource. To make it easier for each student, I created a Multiplication Strategies and TipsChart for my students to store in their math folder for reference. The product is available here in my TpTstore. The chart gives students easy ways to remember how to find the products using strategies like skip counting, Magic Fingers for 3s, using your hands and fingers for 9s, using Commutative Property of Multiplication, etc. I tell the students that these are strategies to be used in class on assignments or on assessments if you can’t remember the product of certain multiplication facts. I keep emphasizing that the students will eventually have to memorize each table through practice.
Daily homework also includes studying the multiplication facts at your own pace. Students are given the Multiplication Tic-Tac-Toe Activity Chart to study the multiplication facts in fun and appropriate ways. All the students have to do is select 3 activities per week to work on any multiplication table (self paced). The only proof I require is a parent signature that the activity was done. Easy to assign, easy to grade for homework.
I also do almost daily multiplication assessments for the multiplication facts that literally can be done in a few minutes with the entire class. It’s called the T-Test. Students test themselves on the multiplication table they are currently studying to pass. If the student can multiply all the factors for that particular table in 1 minute, he or she passes and moves on to the next table. I keep a chart to track their progress and each student receives an incentive chart to mark their own progress. My grade level team has decided to give the entire third grade an ice cream party when all the students have passed up to 10! By next week we will be concluding the Multiplication Unit and moving onto division.