Tips and Tricks for the Multiplication Tables

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.


As always, I welcome your thoughts and suggestions!