Thursday, July 26, 2012

Multiplication Facts - Freebies Galore

I've been teaching third grade for a several years now, but my first few years teaching were all in fourth grade.  I absolutely loved fourth grade and did not want to change grade levels, but in hindsight I'm so thankful for the opportunity.  It was so nice to know exactly what my students needed to be able to know and do for them to be successful the following year.  As a fourth grade teacher, I really needed my students to fluently know their multiplication facts at the beginning of the year.  That's why as a third grade teacher, I REALLY push math facts, especially multiplication facts.  I have my students practice their math facts every single day of the year-from the first day, to the last day of school.  I do all types of things to help my students practice their facts:  flash cards, music, games, work station activities, you name it!

I also have my students take a timed multiplication test every day.  I know it sounds a little "old school" and even boring, but I do believe that if you approach it correctly, it can be something fun for students.  My students usually LOVE taking their timed tests:)  I do everything I can to make the timed tests a non-stressful part of the school day-for my students and me.  I wish I had time to start the year with addition and subtraction facts, but I've found that I have to get started with multiplication facts right away to ensure everyone learns them by the end of the year.  I start everyone on their 0 & 1 facts, and then allow students to move through the facts at their own pace.  I use a basic incentive chart to keep track of who is on what multiplication fact.
Initially, I was very wary of using an incentive chart, because I didn't want anyone to be embarrassed, but I finally gave it a try a few years ago, and I haven't had any problems.  However, I do try very hard to create a kind and supportive classroom community that encourages each other to do their best.

Each morning as soon as we finish our morning work, my students take a 20 question multiplication test that they have one minute to complete.  Click here for your free copy!
I used to have my students complete 100 questions a day, but due to time, paper, and copies, I cut it down to just 20 questions.  I just cut the paper into vertical thirds, and I have three tests on one piece of paper!  I've also applied the commutative property to all of the timed tests, so even if my students are only on their 3 facts, they still may see the problem 7x3, because I really want that concept engrained in my students.  I store the tests in this awesome cart that I bought from Really Good Stuff (I've since seen them cheaper at Office Depot).  Each drawer is labeled with 2 Facts, 3 Facts, 4 Facts and through the 12 Facts.
As soon as students come in the classroom, one of their jobs is to get their timed test out of the drawer BEFORE class begins.  This eliminates me wasting time passing out the tests, which takes a long time when you have students working on a huge range of math facts.  They just keep it at their desk, and as soon as we finish going over our Weekly Word Problem and Number of the Day, I get out my timer and give students one minute to complete the test.  I have my students turn it in for me to check over their work (which doesn't take more than a minute or two).   Students have to answer all 20 problems correctly for them to have the opportunity to move up to the next level.  I have students take a 100 question multiplication quiz on Fridays, where they have five minutes to complete the test.  Once again, students take the test on the facts they are currently studying.  Click here for your free copy!


I know this sounds excessive, but I've learned the hard way that my students have a tendency to forget the facts they learned at the beginning of the year, so this helps them to constantly review ALL the facts they have learned throughout the year.  It's much harder to pass the cumulative 100 problem test than the 20 question test, but I really want my students to have a very firm grasp on their facts.  If my students pass all of their multiplication facts, I allow them to begin their division facts for an extra challenge! 

This system works very well for me, and my students typically have a lot of success with their multiplication facts.  However, I don't about you, but I always have a few students who need a little extra (okay a lot) push to learn their facts.  I think I have some who would stay on the 2 facts all year if I let them.  To help with this, I set benchmarks during the year of where students should be each week.  If anyone falls below that benchmark,  I make sure to spend extra time with that student and do everything I can to catch that student up.  I also send home a math fact study log with that student for their parents to initial each night. Click here for your free copy!


I do all of this on top of my multiplication and division unit, which is MUCH, MUCH more engaging, conceptual and hands-on.  It's actually one of my biggest products on TpT, because it is such an important unit for third graders.  It's full of different ways to represent multiplication, conceptual tasks, word problems, and games.  You can click on the picture if you're interested in previewing the whole unit.



Whew!  I do think this may be the longest post I've ever written, so I'm impressed if you stuck with me through the whole thing!  Hopefully, you've found some ideas and/or resources that you can use to help your student with their math facts during the upcoming year.

19 comments:

Meg Wongsuwan said...

Thank you! You are so generous with your efforts. I appreciate you!

Mrs. Corbitt said...

Thank so much for your insight into the importance of multiplication facts and your willingness to share your materials with us. This is only my second year teaching math for 3rd grade so I appreciate the push to push my kids a little more with their math facts. Thanks again!

:) Nicole
Tadpole Tidbits
www.mrscorbitt.blogspot.com

Angel Read said...

I love how you let the kids work on this at their own paces and try to do their personal best. I remember what a nightmare the Mad Minute was for me when I was a kid... I was terrible at math, and you HAD to move on with the class, whether you'd mastered the previous level or not. Before long I was getting like 10 out of 60 right! :( And then you have to announce your score out loud for the teacher to record. I am glad teachers like you put more thought into making it a positive experience!

Unknown said...

Thanks for sharing! I enjoyed reading about how you get the kids to learn their multiplication facts. I give my students their "Beat the Clock" test on Friday, but will try the daily facts tests when school starts.

Mary said...

Thank you so much for sharing your multiplication fact practice sheets and tests! I will be using these throughout the school year!

Mary
Teaching Special Kids

Laura said...

Yay! This is great stuff. I teach 5th grade and we are starting the year with a major multiplication review and these will so come in handy.
Ps...I think our husbands work for the same company :)

Robbie Lowry said...

Thank you so much for this. Do you have or know where I can print of mad minutes for addition, subtraction, and division? I would like to keep my kids math strong for the summer.

Anita said...

Thank you so much!! My son has special needs and has problems learning math.

Eric Rose said...

I'm a math ed. specialist in NY, and I have a bunch of free multiplication resources that might come in handy- math songs, poems, and stories that review/teach multiplication facts, and often some tricks to memorize them. In any case, they're all free and on my website:
mathstory.com
Hope they can help learners and educators!
Mr. R.

Stephanie said...

I've been stalking your blog for some time and have really connected with your teaching style. As a third grade teacher myself, multiplication facts are something I really push in my class as well. Last year was my first year teaching and my set up was similar to yours. I'm glad to see I wasn't far off. Thanks for the "food for thought" and the freebies. I am definitely using the parent letter.

Josaphat William said...

I am head over heels with my nephew. I remember when he was born and spent time taking to school math is an essential part of life.

Tammy Ferguson said...

This will be my 1st year in 3rd grade so thanks for the heads-up~

Ellen said...

I loved your multiplication weekly log! I also teach 3rd grade and think it's so important to stress multiplication facts with my students too. I assign nightly math fact review, but was looking for a better way to keep the kids accountable. Thanks for sharing!!

Lynn said...

A few questions regarding multiplication timed practices-
1. As soon as the kid gets all "20" on the daily practice- do they move to the next list for daily practice or do you wait until they pass the 100 on Friday.
2.Do you grade all 100 on Friday or do they help and then graph? I team teach as well and every Friday grading 100 facts- then getting them done to graph- seems like it could be a challenge. I usually do the timed tests daily as well- give them 2 weeks to learn a set of facts then give them a timed test of "20"- of course they are mixed up not in the same order each day. Just wondering how to manage the grading/keeping up with who is where...thanks for the free stuff- it's awesome !

Ashleigh S said...

Lynn,

If we have time, I'll let a student take the 100 test the same day they pass the 20 question test and let them move to the next list. I do this mainly because they are so excited I hate to make them wait. It's one of those day by day things that just depends on time, and my students are usually really good about reminding me...over and over and over again:)

I carefully grade anyone's paper who is hasn't yet passed the facts we're currently studying, and if students are past that fact then I just glace over the test. For example, if we're working on our 4 facts, I'm not thorough with students on their 5 facts or higher, but I do glance at them to make sure they're not just guessing. Does that make sense? I typically give a grade every other week on their timed tests, and I never penalize anyone who is ahead of schedule.

Stephanie Hewett said...

Ashleigh,
I stumbled upon your blog this morning. I am printing away & will be checking in very often. My daughter started 3rd grade this morning. This past year, school was very tough for her & I fear she is not going to be able to keep up now. My son is in 2nd grade, but he's on the other end of the spectrum as far as grades. Our school is transitioning into Common Core this year, so it's nice to see something from someone else already using it.

Cheryl said...

Love all of the things that you post. Thanks for sharing!

Miller's Flip Flops said...

I, too, believe in the power of consistent, regular timed test practice to learn the facts. I teach 3rd grade math to all 80 of our third graders in our school, departmentalized. Last year, we had a mix in whole group on the timed test and everyone did the same one. This year I am planning on going up as mastered like you. I like the fact that you count your 100 problem test every other week as a grade. This promotes accountability. Here's my question. If I have everyone on different facts based on their mastery, how can I manage grading 80 timed tests every day and then 8000 problems on Fridays? We don't have assistants and we don't have parental involvement volunteers, which really wouldn't help me know what facts they are struggling with anyway. When we were on the same quiz, we quickly exchanged papers and I called them out, all systematically. Thoughts?

Ashleigh S said...

The year does start off slow, but once I get into my rhythm it's not too bad. It gets easier when I have some students start to pull way ahead of others. I'm going to try to work a good explanation into a blog post, because there is a trick to managing it.

I won't like...I do not like grade the 100 question test. It is such a pain.

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