Every year it seems that it is a challenge for our students to learn their facts. Every year we struggle. I do not believe in strict memorization of many things, but at the end of the day, math facts are something that you just NEED to know.
I have learned a few ways that seem to help alleviate the stress for my students and myself.
First, I try to make it as fun as possible. Using the Kagan Cooperative Learning Structure Quiz-Quiz-Trade with basic multiplication flashcards is a great way to practice.
In order to "play:"
1. Each student needs their own flashcard
2. Stand up and put your hand in the air to find a partner.
3. When you find a partner you hi five them and greet them. This embeds an important social skill that all students need work on.
4. Partner A then reads the entire fact from Partner B's card. For example, 8x8=64
5. If Partner A is correct Partner B praises them, if not they coach them. I teach my students to "tip, tip, tell" when coaching so that no one reaches the point of frustration.
6. Next, Partner B takes their turn answering the fact and Partner A praises or coaches.
7. After both partners have taken their turn they trade cards, thank each other, and move on to the next partner.
This is a great way for students to practice their facts. I try to spend about five minutes at the beginning of math each day. While the students are working in their many different partnerships I walk around monitoring what facts are tripping them up as well as making sure that everyone is on task.
The second strategy that I have been trying really hard with this year is using tricks, rhymes, and songs for memorization of facts. I previously knew about singing the 3's to the tune of Jingle Bells and the nine trick using your fingers, but one of my coworkers found a pinterest freebie from Ginger Snaps that has a trick for almost every multiple.
My students really enjoy the songs, but I am most impressed by the six's trick. It is so simple!
Finally, for those facts that we seem to always get stuck on like 7x8=56 we yell them! This was suggested to me by a coworker and it has worked wonders. For some reason, yelling the fact really helps my students to remember it.
I hope that some of these strategies will help you and your students bridge the gap into multiplication and make it a bit less painful.