Making Multiplication Work!

Every year I just know that my students are going to come to me knowing all their multiplication facts. "They will be fluent!" I say with guarded optimism. Well, I am here to tell you that it hasn't happened yet. Bad news is that becoming fluent takes some time. Good news is I have a few fabulous ways to make it a bit more fun.
 My goal is to move multiplication facts from short term memory to long term never ever ever going to forget it memory. In order to do this I have two tried and true methods that help my students every year, and one new to me idea that is working wonders!
 Tried and true method number one is personal flashcards. Each student in my class has their own set. They guard them with them lives, and they get "quizzed" on them on Fridays. They are gold! To see how we determine what flashcards are in your personal set, check out this post.
 Our next activity that is tried and true is a real crowd pleaser! We use dice in dice (or just two dice) to create fact families. Students work independently or in partners for this activity, and only need a pencil, paper, and either a die in die or two dice.
The steps are easy.
1. Roll the dice.
2. Write the four equations in the fact family.
3. Repeat as many times as time allows

Simple right? We do it a little differently each time. Sometimes we work in partners. Sometimes independently. Sometimes we make it a race to see who can get ten fact families first. Other times we see who can get the most in a period of time. At times I have a "Mystery Number" of fact families that I am looking for, and the team with the amount closest to that number wins. Finally, sometimes I require a certain number of fact families and students keep going until they get there.

They love that we change it up, and they never know what to expect that day. We play this one at least twice a week.
Our new to us, but totally rocking resource is ReflexMath! Reflex Math works with students also with fact families to attain fact fluency. Their definition of fluency is knowing a fact like you know your name, which I love because it gives students something they can understand. This web-based program is all game based, which students love. 

There is also a handy green light feature that shows when the students reach their optimal usage for the day. It makes it incredibly easy for me to check in with students to make sure, "Did you get your green light today?"

We are only a week into the program and our class' fact fluency has moved from 16% to 34% which is something I am willing to shout from the rooftops. We have set a class goal of reaching 100% by the end of the semester.

I hope that some of these will help you and your students too!

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