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They won't study their mult. facts! Help!

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 MrsCrystal Joined: Apr 2007 Posts: 108 Full Member
MrsCrystal

Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 108
Full Member
They won't study their mult. facts! Help!
12-15-2007, 08:32 AM
 #1

This is my 1st year teaching third grade, and I made the mistake of starting with the 2's and 5's on week 1 (a 2nd grade standard, so most didn't have to study), and then the 0's, 1's, and 10's the second week (again, they didn't really have to study them if they knew the principle). It's been 5 weeks since then, and I still have 5 kids who have not progressed past the 2nd set of facts!

I've sent notes home; I've talked to the kids; I've offered incentives; I've lectured. Finally, I started making them stay in at every recess and copy each fact (problem and answer) 10 times in a row, and they have to do that until they pass their next test.

I feel mean, but what else can I do? I can't go to their houses and MAKE them study. How do you motivate kids who won't study at home, and whose parents don't care enough or don't have enough time to help?

 eliza4one Joined: Aug 2007 Posts: 10,451 Senior Member
eliza4one

Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 10,451
Senior Member

12-15-2007, 09:15 AM
 #2

When you say 2nd set of facts, do you mean the 0's, 1's, 10's?

What comes after that set?

I teach in an area where parents demand that their children succeed, so memorizing the facts is just expected (in fact, I already have some in my class working on mastering their division facts).

Here are little things I do:

-Start with the 0's and 1's. Then the 10's and 11's, then the 2's and 5's. Then the 9's (because of the trick that goes with the 9's). Then the 3's, 4's, 6's, 7's, 8's. I want them to know as many as possible BEFORE they get to the more difficult ones (because of fact families)

-set up a chart/schedule---week by week basis, that lets kids and parents know that by X date, they need to have this set memorized.
This goes home to hang on the fridge and a copy stays at school in their 'rocket math folder'. The parents know that their child's math homework for that week is to practice and memorize that set of facts.

-I do allow longer for the more difficult facts (6, 7, 8). 2 weeks is usually sufficient.

-I set up a different schedule, depending upon my high/quick learners, and my low/slow learners.

-Each time someone passes a set of facts, I announce it and we clap for them. Also, I physically mark off that set of facts on their chart. They really like seeing them marked off---how far they have come, and how far they have to go. If/when I have the time, I also send home a little certificate in Thursday folders, telling the parents that their child passed.

-Give them as many memorization hints as I can. Rhyming ones, etc.
6 x 8 went on a date, they came back with 48. 7 x 8 = 56 is the ONLY fact where all 4 numbers in the equation can be put in sequential order. ANY thing I can think of to help them remember. (There are ALOT of rhyming ones).

-Physically show them, on the overhead, using a mult. chart/table, that once they learn the 7 easy sets (0,1,2,5,9,10,11), they have learned OVER half their mult. facts. Which means they know some for the other facts (because of fact families). When they see how few they really have left to memorize, they realize it isn't that hard.

-When they get to the 6, 7, 8's, I make up a few pages with specific facts on it. Here are the hardest facts for kids to learn (I have found):

6 x 7 6 x 8 7 x 8

So, I have kids spend 2 (or more) of their rocket math days working on sheets with JUST those 3 facts on them. Once they do this, plus they know the tricks/riddles above, they learn these 3 fairly fast. I then have them go back to practice the entire set of 6's, 7's, 8's.

-Do rocket math daily-5 min. in class. THEY chart their weekly progress in graph form. Again, seeing this progress is a motivator.

I haven't even officially begun mult. yet, even though over half my class is on mult. in rocket math, and 2 are on division. The other 1/2
I will begin in January. From Jan. to May, that group with work solely on mult. facts during rocket math. The others that pass, move onto division, division w/remainders, multi-digit multiplication. I haven't had a group yet (other than SPED), who haven't been able to master all facts in that 5 month period.

When kids see that they will get to move onto division, etc. it motivates them, too.

Officially in 3rd grade here, we don't even have to begin division---so knowing they are doing '4th grade' work in 3rd motivates them, too.

Hope this helps.

 hescollin Joined: Aug 2005 Posts: 1,455 Senior Member
hescollin

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12-15-2007, 10:08 AM
 #3

3x4=12 is like 7x8=56. 4x4=16 4x4 is a pick up and you have to be 16 to drive it.

Mad Minutes are a great tool.

Mad Minutes ---We start them at the beginning of the third grade.
Addition, next subtraction and when we start multiplication we don't
give any more add and sub Mad Minutes. Students must get 20 correct in
one minute. This makes students stop counting on their fingers, using
point math and number lines. If they get 20 correct they get a piece of
candy from the candy jar. (a small piece of individual wrapped candy)
They like those fruit square things You get a package of them and put in
a pretty jar with a lid. Can't think of the name of them. We use
flashcard drills. Sort out the 0s and they must get them all correct in
40 seconds. And they get a piece of candy. Than we do the 1s in 40
seconds and earn a piece of candy. Oh, yes they are easy, but they had
success and you have their attention and you are building self esteem.
After we go thru all the flashcards including 10s. We go to the Mad
Minutes. Get gumball machine and gumballs at the Dollar Store cheap.
If they improve by 3 they get another gumball We do a five minute timing
on one hundred facts at the beginning of the year and at the end of each
grading period. These are test and stay in their personal file folders
in the teachers file cabinet. Now when we start multiplication facts.
We do the flashcard thing except this time we work of a banana split
party. 0s=napkin, 1s=spoon, 2s=dish, 3s=banana 4s= ice cream
5s=toppings chocolate, strawberry and butterscotch, 6s= crushed Oreo
cookies 7s=whipped topping 8s= sprinkles 9s=a cherry on top. 10s
= nuts.... Get at Dollar Store also cheap. They earn a certificate at
the end of year assembly with the number of facts they mastered in one
minute in each addition, multiplication and subtraction.

You could also decorate a cupcake and have a cupcake party.

 NewTeach22 Joined: Nov 2006 Posts: 138 Full Member
NewTeach22

Joined: Nov 2006
Posts: 138
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12-15-2007, 11:29 AM
 #4

I do a type of Mad Minutes like the above poster. I have worksheets with 24 facts of each set and the students have one minute to answer them. We have mad minutes every other day (to give me time to mark them) and as each student passes the quiz perfectly they move on to their next set. When the pass the 12's I take their picture and put it on a star on a bulletin board labeled "Mad Minutes Wall of Fame."

I emphasize secrecy. It's nobody else's business what facts anyone else is on. Some kids CANNOT memorize easily and it's hard for them. Therefore I dont post publically what each student is on - they know and I know, that's enough for us.

I also have reviews thrown in the mix, because a lot of kids will memorize the facts for their quiz, then forget them. So I have 2's, 3's, 4's then a 2/3/4 review. 5's, 6's, 7's, 8's, 5/6/7/8 review. 9's, 10's, 11's, 12's, 9/10/11/12 review. Then a 2-12 review. Once they finish that, it's on to the wall of fame.

This is my second year in third grade and I can't wait to start it up again. My students last year LOVED it and the Wall of Fame was their sole motivator!

 MrsCrystal Joined: Apr 2007 Posts: 108 Full Member
MrsCrystal

Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 108
Full Member
Thanks!
12-15-2007, 12:37 PM
 #5

Thank you for all of the ideas! I actually do almost everything you all have mentioned, so at least I know I'm on the right track. =)

We do Mad Minutes, keep a chart, reward them for passing, do all of the mnemonic tricks, I showed them how fact families work and that they really only need to learn a few facts every week, etc. but some of them just won't do the actual studying. I can give them all the tests in the world, but the tests don't teach them--they just show that they're not studying, you know?

I guess my problem is more how to motivate them, than how to teach them. We'll see how things go after a week of sitting out recesses and copying their facts, but if they're not even looking at their flash cards at home, I'm not sure they can learn them just based on what they do at school. It's frustrating, but I'll keep trying!

 swalters Joined: Oct 2005 Posts: 396 Senior Member
swalters

Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 396
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ice cream sundae
12-15-2007, 03:45 PM
 #6

I have an ice cream sundae party where you pass each level you get something
pass 4's ice cream
5's ice cream and 1 topping
6's ice cream and 2 toppings
etc,
I will be doing that after winter break.

 Polly J. Joined: Apr 2007 Posts: 248 Full Member
Polly J.

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12-15-2007, 07:23 PM
 #7

My kiddos sit in groups. Each student makes a set of flashcards as I introduce the various facts. I hole-punch the cards, and they wear them on a string around their neck. During transitions, in the hallway, during any kind of down-time, the kiddos practice their facts. Each separate time I see them practicing, I reward their group with a point. The winning group gets a small prize from me at the end of the week.

This has been so successful for me that I actually have to get after the class sometimes for practicing their facts when they shouldn't be, like while I'm teaching reading, or giving instructions!

I have them do practice sheets in class too, and after we learn the facts more thoroughly we will begin daily timings, although I ALWAYS stress accuracy, not speed.

 shazam Joined: Mar 2007 Posts: 2,074 Senior Member
shazam

Joined: Mar 2007
Posts: 2,074
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Multiplication in 7 Days long...
12-16-2007, 05:37 AM
 #8

Have you heard of 7 Days to Multiplication Mastery...I can't remember who it's by. But basically, you teach the concept of multiplication (multiples and skip counting, arrays, equal groups, repeated addition, commutative property etc).

Then you use a Times Table and show students the different patterns of the multiplication facts. Then you explain that we will be memorizing the facts. When we first look at it tell them there are 100 that we will memorize. Then I explain 0's and 1's and tell them we won't spend time memorizing those because they are way to easy and cross them off the chart. Then we go through and cross out any repeated facts and it ends up that there are only 36 they have to memorize (if they are comfortable with the commutative property).

Then each day, students are responsible for a different set of facts plus reviewing the facts from the day before. We make flashcards and play games in class, then they go home and focus on those facts for homework. Then each day there are timed tests for each fact.

Day 1--squares-2x2, 3x3, 4x4, 5x5, 6x6, 7x7, 8x8, 9x9
Day 2--2's 2x3 2x4 2x5 2x6 2x7 2x8 2x9 and review squares
Day 3--5's 5x6 5x7 5x8 5x9 and review day 1 and 2
Day 4--3's 3x4 3x5 3x6 3x7 3x8 3x9 and review
Day 5--4's 4x5 4x6 4x7 4x8 4x9 and review
Day 6--6's, 7's, 8,s--6x7 6x8 6x9 7x8 7x9 8x9 review
(the 9's are already covered with the others)
Day 7--review

Then review throughout the year and continue to have regular timed tests throughout the year. My students are super excited to start it each year and love doing it. And for most students it works!

 AZTeacher07 Joined: Jun 2007 Posts: 1,287 Senior Member
AZTeacher07

Joined: Jun 2007
Posts: 1,287
Senior Member

12-16-2007, 07:26 AM
 #9

I teach 4th grade but I do multiplication bingo for prizes. They really want to win a prize so they have started to learn them. When I started I went really slow and they had time to figure it out but I've slowly gotten faster and their catching on that they need to know them if their going to have time.

 Meggin Joined: Sep 2005 Posts: 976 Senior Member
Meggin

Joined: Sep 2005
Posts: 976
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It sounds mean, but it works.
12-16-2007, 07:58 AM
 #10

My favorite college mathematics professor said memorization of facts is crucial to doing well in higher math topics, but my students don't study their multiplication facts at home. It's very frustrating! One thing that I do that has made a difference is to do daily times facts drills. Students who miss four or more of the 25 facts on the one minute drill must write-off four facts. If three facts are missed, they write-off three, etc. To write-off, they write one fact repeatedly down a column of their notebook paper. They must write 6 x 7 = 42, not 6's all the way down, then "x" all the way down, etc. Writing the fact repeatedly forces them to memorize it. They don't complain about having to do this (at least, not much!!) because they can see the results. And knowing that they may have to do write-offs encourages them to study at home.

It takes all of about 10 minutes for students to complete write-offs, and now, with our quarter almost over, 75 percent of my class have mastered their multiplication facts. The others are nearly there. Those who master all sets of facts must pass a 5 minute drill of 100 facts to earn a certificate.

 lmort002 Joined: Sep 2007 Posts: 190 Full Member
lmort002

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12-18-2007, 03:31 PM
 #11

I just wanted to reply. I teach 6th grade in a school district where they do NOT fail any child, no matter what. I have 6th graders that do NOT know what 2x3 is. So I sympathize with you and it is so important that they know them. It makes learning fractions, equations, ratios, EVERYTHING that much more difficult and frustrating.

So do what you can. I still do the 5 minute drill of 100 facts, except I have them do it in 2 or 3 minutes.

 MrsCrystal Joined: Apr 2007 Posts: 108 Full Member
MrsCrystal

Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 108
Full Member
Update
12-19-2007, 10:11 PM
 #12

Thank you all for your tips/input. My partner and I started giving them timed tests daily, contacted parents by phone, and had them on the bench all week during recess writing their facts....and now we're down to only 2 kids who are making zero progress, from 5. The more frequent reinforcement (along with getting CREAMED in a game vs. another 3rd grade class) seems to have motivated the other 3. Those other two will leave third grade knowing them if it takes everything I have!

 Teach'n'Learn Joined: Jun 2007 Posts: 2,061 Senior Member
Teach'n'Learn

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Posts: 2,061
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12-19-2007, 10:32 PM
 #13

I have fourth graders, and I'm tearing my hair out about this. Our math curriculum assumes they know their facts already, so I don't really have time to keep going over them and get them to where they need to be by test time. I'm already 2 chapters behind from all the time I spend on math facts.

They are learning the concepts (figuring out "n" for 6n=42 for example), but they get the problems wrong because of math facts (assuming 6x8 = 42, so n=8).

I have gone over WHY multiplication works. We do group work where they figure out methods of multiplying (for example, they came up with the idea that if you know 6x4 = 24, you can figure out 6x8 = 48 because 8 is twice 4), we do manipulatives and "Acting out" of the concepts. I try to get them to "Get it right, not get it quickly" but they *think* they know the answer already.

After every quiz and test, I have them do a "correcting your mistakes" paper where they have to redo the problem (they ask me to explain again if they don't understand the concept). Then they have to write a complete sentence explaining why they got it wrong in the first place. I've tried demonstrating how many points they're losing each quiz just because they dno't know their math facts. They just don't seem to care, and that's really weird with this class because they're sooo into "school."

Well, this turned into a vent. Anyway, I'm going to try some of these ideas. Thanks!

 nanz Joined: Jun 2006 Posts: 217 Full Member
nanz

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Competition
12-20-2007, 05:00 PM
 #14

My campus holds math fact competitions for 3rd-5th grades. This is done by grade level in a single elimination style format. Two classes line up, the first two students in line are given a fact, the first student to answer goes to the back of the line and the other student sits out. The round continues until only one class is left with students in the line. The winning class goes on to compete against the next class and so on until all classes have competed and one class is named the champion. We are a uniform campus, so the winning class is awarded a free dress day.

I have mixed feelings about the competitions. I have seen great improvement in my students' fact knowledge and in their motivation to study, but competition can also lead to poor sportsman like conduct and hurt feelings. If you go this route, you have to really talk up and practice how to be a good winner and loser.

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