4th grade struggling with multiplication

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by stampin'teacher, Sep 3, 2011.

  1. stampin'teacher

    stampin'teacher Cohort

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    Sep 3, 2011

    I went from a school where the majority of students have all their basic multiplication/division facts memorized by the time they get to 4th grade.

    I assessed my 4th graders at my new school and.....
    1. They never learned their 11s & 12s
    2. They are not solid in their other multiplication facts
    3. They haven't even discussed fact families and how it relates to division
    4. Many still even struggle with addition and subtraction!!!!

    Now, keep in mind, this is a private school in Southern California-every family pays a great deal of money to go there. There's no financial struggle, no issues with getting the appropriate resources, etc.

    I think the issue is that it's a very progressive school, focusing on students learning at their own developmental pace. Now, while this is fine, I think that many parents are confusing "learning at their own developmental pace" with "I don't need to make sure they practice daily".

    I am struggling because there is so much work to cover, and I don't have enough time to go through and reteach everything. Plus, I don't even know where to begin! I don't think I've ever really had to teach this, because they should have these facts memorized.

    What do I do? It would be a disservice to not go over this work, but I just can't spend a large chunk of time going over basic addition & subtraction, let alone reviewing multiplication & division-They basically wouldn't get to the actual curriculum until much later in the fall!
    :help::help::help:
     
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  3. Opal

    Opal Companion

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    Sep 3, 2011

    I teach 4th also, and out of my 19 students, I'd estimate that only 5 (tops) are proficient with multiplication tables.

    Each day we have minute multiplication tests and the student is awarded an ice cream scoop for his/her cone. Whoever has 13 scoops (0-12) will get to participate in an ice cream party at the end of the semester. This seems to greatly motivate my lower performing students.
     
  4. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Sep 3, 2011

    Drill it to death.

    Every day, assign them 2 different times tables as you get something done. Quiz them twice a week on their times tables-- 20 random questions they have 3 minutes (or whatever) to complete. Put times tables questions on every single math test you give, and work on mental math skills.

    Please believe me when I tell you they'll thank you someday.
     
  5. NJArt

    NJArt Comrade

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    Sep 4, 2011

    I shared this site with the third grade teachers two years ago, and the kids LOVED practicing multiplication with it. totally free. http://www.bigbrainz.com/
     
  6. GoldenPoppy

    GoldenPoppy Habitué

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    Sep 5, 2011

    I agree with Alice...drill, drill, drill.

    We chant at least two sets of facts before we begin each math lesson. I do a timed fact test once a week and the kids take it until they get 100%. If a child hasn't memorized their facts, they get a sticker in their assignment book each day that says practice multiplication and division facts. (I made little sticky labels - saves me from having to write the same thing over and over again.)

    It helped to have a discussion about how memorizing multiplication facts is really only half the job they think it is. If you know 4 x 5 = 20, then you also know that 5 x 4 = 20. Once you've got that, you also know the related division facts. I often ask my kids to write the 4 related multiplication and division equations for a given number as sort of an exit ticket before they put their white boards away, no matter what lesson we've been doing.

    I wish they would all come to me with this knowledge, but even in our small private school it doesn't happen.
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2011
  7. stampin'teacher

    stampin'teacher Cohort

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    Sep 5, 2011

    I've spent the weekend creating fact family worksheets for students to understand exactly that, GoldenPoppy. They don't really understand the relationship between division and multiplication. They never went over that in third, which I am really surprised about. I love using it as an "exit ticket"!

    We're also going to do "mad math" each day to focus on two different math facts (for example, tomorrow they'll focus on 2s & 3s. I can't do mad minute because they are used to getting like, 3-5 minutes for 25 problems.

    I also like Alicecc's idea of putting math facts on EVERYTHING. It will be on ALL their homework, and practicing their facts will be a daily homework activity.

    I totally expected something else from this group-this is a very affluent school in Los Angeles, and the Everyday Math curriculum they use I already know is too advanced for them. It's going into week two and we haven't even looked at our textbook!
     
  8. jenneke607

    jenneke607 Rookie

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    Sep 5, 2011

    Sounds like you're now entering with a plan! Keep at it. You are absolutely doing your kids a favor.

    I also suggest the use of lots of arrays, particularly to teach 11s and 12s. For example, you can draw an array for 5 x 11, and then show how you can split that up into 5 x (10 + 1) by drawing a line to divide that extra column. Therefore, 5 x 11 = 5 x (10 + 1) = 50 + 5 = 55. Same goes for the twelves.

    You can also use arrays (among other representations ) to show the relationship between multiplication and division. I agree, this is KEY and they need to get inverse relationships!

    Also: maybe focus on some related facts? Like, maybe pair 2s and 4s. For 8 x 4, I always draw lots of arrays to show how you can take the factor of 8, double it (16), and then double it again. 4s facts are the doubles facts doubled. I won't explain it well now, via text, but picture all those arrays in your head.

    Good luck! It sounds like you have a firm sense of what will be important in future grades, so keep chipping away at this problem!
     
  9. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Sep 5, 2011

    I think you seem to have a good understanding of the situation. They need to know their facts, and you also have the regular curriculum to teach. I would continue to teach the curriculum, but take 5-10 minutes on facts/day. 11's will take you almost no time. A mini-lesson on how mutliplication relates to division with pictures or manipulatives would help. Also, the beauty of a private school (I teach at one) is that you can really hold the children accountable. Give the children a deadline to learn a particular fact-100% timed. Those who succeed get some small reward. Those who miss more than 3 you will keep them in at lunch recess or after school to have them practice the facts. Maybe even have them practice an hour after school. If parents say they can't pick them up, then you may have to use the lunch option. Try to get some support from your principal as well. Most understand the great importance of multiplication facts. Once children know they will miss recess fun and you will follow through, they will be practicing more at home.

    Also, there are fun ways the children can practice at home. This can include multiplication.com and others.

    Good luck!

    Kevin
     

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