Teach by Table
You may be teaching several grades, or you may be teaching only one—but you have students who don’t know their multiplication tables. Some are more behind than others.
Where do you start?
In either situation, teach one table at a time instead of teaching several at once. This makes the huge undertaking of learning 0 x 0 through 12 x 12 something doable.
It breaks the elephant down into bite-sized pieces.
For the zero table, teach 0 x 0, 1 x 0, 2 x 0, etc., through 12 x 0.
The zero table is so easy, of course, that even kindergartners can do it, but don’t skip it! Mastering the 0 table gives students the satisfaction that comes from knowing something.
Then go to the next table, teaching from 1 x to 12 x . After your students know tables well, then practice those tables mixed together. Until then, only practice tables separately.
(Since early grades learn to count by 2s, 5s, 10s, and 3s, you’d teach the multiplication tables in that order, one at a time. In third grade, you’d start with the 0s and continue in numerical order with all the tables through the 12s.)
TIP: The top factor on a card is the table marker. Keep your cards organized by tables to set you up for success and keep you from wasting time. Try Swiffer containers for easy, free storage.
Your students won’t learn their multiplication facts if you don’t review them. Repetition is the key to learning them, and there’s no way around it. If you want your students to progress, review. If you want to keep track of how your students are doing, review. If you want to see your students ready for the next grade, review.
Does that mean you have to spend half your lesson reviewing?
No! The key to success is more about consistency than duration. Look at your lesson plans to see how long to review and for creative ways of doing it.
Does that mean you may spend more time preparing to teach new material (so you’ll have time to review)? Yes. But it will be worth it! This is one investment you can be certain will pay off.
Of the 13 tables, 7 have tricks to make them easier to learn. Isn’t that great? Your students will think so!
Besides tricks, there are also strategies! Don’t leave those out.
Teach the concept of twins: The combination looks exactly alike, only the numbers are switched. Students don’t need to learn a new combo—just remember the twin. For example,
6 x 8 is the same as 8 x 6.
Point out doubles, too; they’re easier to memorize. A few examples are 5 x 5, 8 x 8,
and 9 x 9.
Make it fun!
Just saying the multiplication tables over and over again with no variety would get boring for anyone. Make it fun by playing songs that put the tables to music, or make your own music. The 2s table could be sung like a robot and the 3s with a Texas twang. The only limit is your imagination!
Whisper and bend low as you start to say the table. As the numbers get higher, get louder and stand tall.
For younger children, walk to the side like a crab.
Clap on the desk between the combinations once, twice, or three times (you decide!). For example, 0 x 3 = 0, clap, 1 x 3 = 3, clap.
Make it fit!
Think of the time your class spends walking somewhere or waiting to do something.
Practice when you’re going to or coming back from recess, headed to a field trip, or waiting for assembly to start. During waiting periods when class conversations get loud, try redirecting all those voices to multiplication tables. It will sound a lot better, and you’ll be making that time count!
Though you may have your students in class for only a year, you’ll be influencing their education for years to come by teaching them multiplication tables. Even when it seems like slow going, don’t get discouraged! If you need help, get in touch with one of our educational consultants at EducationalConsultant@abeka.com, or go to our free teacher training library to see examples of how it’s done.