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Topic: upper middle schoolers that haven't yet mastered multiplication facts


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Subject:   RE: upper middle schoolers that haven't yet mastered multiplication facts
Author: gerirose
Date: Jan 26 2005
I've been very hesitant to weigh in on this discussion because I have such
strong feelings but no research to back me up.  But here goes---

Students who come to middle school who have yet mastered their 'facts' have been
drilled for many years.  And the practice has not worked.  That's clear because
they still don't know their 'facts.'  Why would we presume that more drill and
practice will change the outcome?

For those few students that I've encountered in this situation, I've tried to
help them build on what they do know already.  I've not met a student who can't
count by two's or five's or ten's by middle school.  I've used this knowledge
and repeated addition to help them figure out what they need to recall in
standardized test situations.  The more I've removed the anxiety of the 'wrong'
answer inside our classroom, and the more they've worked with alternative ways
(more conceptual) to look at multiplication, the more confident my students have
become and the more success they've had.

On Jan 26 2005, Scottie wrote:
> On Dec  6 2004, Bethy wrote:
> I'm about at wits end. I teach in a
> very small rural school (one
> school district) and we have a
> number of students who, at 7th and
> 8th grade, still don't know
> 75% or more of the multiplication facts.
> I'm not a proponent of
> rote memorization, but these students need
> some means of quickly
> retrieving/calculating this information. What
> does the research
> indicate? Does anyone know of an effective method
> for equipping
> these students with a procedure so that they can move
> ahead?
> Bethy, I highly recommend you become a proponent of rote
> memorization in this case.  Not knowing the facts is going to slow
> your students down for the rest of their math careers.  Here's what
> I do and what may help; first of all, allow time during each math
> lesson to teach strategies (very important) for learning the
> multiplication facts.  SMove on to timed tests when a strategy has
> been learned.  Start easy with the 2's, then the 2's and 5's, 10's
> first. Make it fun!  Offer an incentive by dividing your class into
> teams and making it fun/competitive.  Offer prizes (go to local
> retailers or parents and ask for coupons, donations.)  Don't be
> afraid to have them write the facts they miss on the tests 10 times
> each for homework, five consecutive nights in a row.  This is boring
> but never fails.  Be tough.  Take the time.  If you do, you'll be
> giving them a great parting gift as they leave your room in June.  I
> have tests and other things I can email you if you need them.
> Scottie

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