Count on fingers. Teach
students that they can discern sets of multiplication facts by counting
on their fingers along with the songs. For example, counting on fingers
while singing threes shows that three times four is twelve. Tell
students when they're stuck, try singing the songs silently and counting
Highlight the rhythm. Have
students clap the rhythm as they sing the songs. Kinetic activity
helps some students learn more quickly (see counting on fingers above).
Repetition rocks! Most kids
sing a song about ten times to learn it. In the classroom, try different
ways to spice up the repetition. Have just the girls sing, just
the boys, all together, sing standing on one foot, and other variations.
Make singing multiplication songs fun so kids learn more.
Make multiplication songs part of other
routines. Sing selected multiplication songs when the class
lines up, as a transition activity, or when there are a few teachable
moments before another activity. If your child is working on fives, sing
the fives song several times a day as part of your daily routine at
home, perhaps while brushing hair, putting away toys or setting the
table. Singing multiplication songs while driving is a sure-fire
Combine Multiplication Songs with Traditional
Teaching and Learning Methods
Practice, practice, practice. Being
able to sing a times table is one thing, knowing that three times four
equals twelve is another. Use multiplication tables, practice
worksheets, computer programs, and flash cards...whatever helps.
Treat students as capable.
Learning multiplication tables is a skill like nothing most students
have done before. It is very difficult at first. Teach the concept of
multiplication quickly, and get right into the business of memorizing.
Making it through the fives often results in an "Aha!" experience.
Once students feel successful in memorizing, they move through the
Remind students how much they know.
Students don't start from scratch with each new times table. Remind them
that they already know the 0, 1, 10, and 11 facts for a new times table
at Level Two. As they progress through the times tables, students
will know more and more facts before they start on facts in a new level.
Work as a team in the classroom.
Approach times tables as a team effort with the whole class learning
each set of facts. Have students help each other practice, pulling
individuals until everybody knows that particular times table.
Teach even/odd. Make sure
students know the difference between even and odd numbers (difficult for
some!) so they notice patterns more rapidly. Reminding students
that a number times an even number always is even will help them with
many times tables facts.
Teach the tricks. Most times
tables have little tricks that really help students learn the basic
facts. There is the nines trick, multiply by 10 by placing zero at
the end, and 56 = 7 x 8 (see how the numbers are in order?).
Twelves aren't so bad. Many
students have trouble with twelves, especially because these facts often
are saved for last. Remind students that the answer to a twelves fact is
the last number in each multiplication song.
Celebrate success. Celebrate
when the whole class learns all the times tables, but celebrate in
between, too. Praise every time a student passes a times table
test. Some students learn well with publicly spoken words recognizing
their accomplishments; others react better to a written certificate
attesting to their mastery of a new skill level. Use whatever
Use Other Resources
Make your own flash cards. Help
students make their own flash cards for every times table. Try using 3x5
index cards, and store each set of flash cards in a separate envelope.
At first, simply practice individual fact sets as a learning tool.
Be smart with flashcards. Teach
students they don't have to practice all the times tables at once. Start
with only the 0, 1, 10 and 11 facts. Then, one by one, add the more
difficult facts. As practice sessions go on, remove easier facts
so students focus on the facts that give them trouble.
Download Best Times Tables Practice
EVER! This free
software program is great because it is customizable. Practice
just threes, only the easy threes, only 6s, 7s and 8s -- you name it!
The program gives hints and doesn't let students advance until they give
the correct answer.