Is this too much to ask of 3rd graders?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Bella2010, Sep 2, 2014.

  1. Bella2010

    Bella2010 Habitué

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    We did a multiplication fact (3s) test last Friday. I only had two kids make an A, and about half the kids flunked. The kids make flashcards for the week's fact on Monday to study at home. I let them quiz with a partner whenever we have a few minutes. There were 20 questions, and the kids had 3 minutes. It was all single digit problems.

    Thanks!
     
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  3. AdamnJakesMommy

    AdamnJakesMommy Habitué

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    Definitely not too much to expect them to learn their facts. Do you think they flunked because they didn't have enough time or because they just didn't know the facts yet?
     
  4. Bella2010

    Bella2010 Habitué

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    I have no clue. :confused: I'm more inclined to say not enough time, but I think 3 minutes for 20 problems is plenty.
     
  5. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Second graders at my school spend as much time working on multiplication fact fluency as they do working on nuclear astrophysics. I teach advanced 3rd grade math, and specifically tell parents in June that the children should come in knowing their facts, and I'd still be lucky if half my kids earned an A on your quiz.

    Take that information how you will.
     
  6. Danny'sNanny

    Danny'sNanny Connoisseur

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    2nd grade at my school only introduces multiplication (with manipulatives or pictures), so our 3 rd graders are not there yet.
     
  7. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    I feel blessed if only half of my class counts on their fingers for addition and math facts at the beginning of the year.
     
  8. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    This is the case at both my old school in NC and where I taught last year. CCSS only goes into basic multiplication concepts, not facts.


    OP- you say that you made flashcards, but did you actually teach it? Counting by 3s, repeated addition, arrays, coloring the pattern on a 100s chart, etc...
     
  9. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    I think you are going too quickly. One week to learn 3 facts for all students? Why the rush to get it done in a week? I'd give them a practice timed quiz after one week, then contact parents for those that are low, and then the real quiz after 2-3 weeks. It does take some time to learn multiplication facts. I know I could never get 3's done in a week in the 10+ years I taught 3rd grade.
     
  10. olivecoffee

    olivecoffee Companion

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    I'm student teaching in a 3rd grade classroom. The kids haven't even touched multiplication. They had a worksheet to do with 3 digit addition/subtraction problems, and many of them had difficulty understanding regrouping.
     
  11. Bella2010

    Bella2010 Habitué

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    No, trying to figure out where I'd put that into my day. I feel like facts are kind of like cursive writing - both important but a struggle to fit in.

    I only do one fact a week. Last week was 3s, next week 4s (maybe).
     
  12. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    It should be part of your 3rd grade standards. For CCSS, it falls under standards 3.OA.A.1, 3.OA.A.3 and 3.OA.A.4. Therefore you teach it during your math block. Once it has been taught, practiced, practiced, practiced even more, then you are ready for timed drills. That is what is tricky to fit in.


    ETA- I wouldn't tackle it until 2nd marking period.
     
  13. Bella2010

    Bella2010 Habitué

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    I know it's a standard and should be part of my math block. I'm just saying it's hard to fit in with everything else we're expected (required) to do in a day.
     
  14. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    I guess I'm terribly confused as to why this would be different than any other math standard you teach in 3rd. K/1 teachers take the time to teach addition and how it works because it is part of their standards. It is the same for multiplication in 3rd. It is a brand new concept and a good solid 4 weeks (or more if possible) should be spent on learning the rules and patterns before memorization is even a thought. While in 3rd, I rarely used our workbooks (EnVision), but it was at least two whole chapters of the book.
     
  15. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    In my private school, we are technically a year ahead with the curriculum- or we try to be. But we are only just starting multiplication facts in 3rd grade- students are expected to have them mastered by mid to end of the school year.

    You can also maybe think about assigning multiplication facts practice for homework. Maybe make a log chart that says what students should practice for 10 minutes that evening and have parents sign off saying that their child practiced- that way if they're bombing the test the parents can't blame you since they're also supposed to be practicing at home.

    I know for me the only way I learned it was when my Mom sat me down in 2nd grade or maybe 3rd every evening and drilled me. I *HATED* it at the time, but I understand WHY she made me do it- it was the only way I was going to learn them.
     
  16. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    I agree with the others. One week at the beginning of the year is too much for third graders. It usually takes many, many months to master the concept of multiplication and memorize the facts.
     
  17. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    When I was in 3rd grade, I was still struggling with addition and subtraction facts. Timed multiplication tests were the thing I hated most about school, and I would try to play sick on those days. And I was gifted! I never did "memorize" my multiplication facts, but I did eventually learn them, through repeated use. I turned out fine, and finished high school with 5 and a half years of math, including two calculus courses. But, I always had a negative attitude about math because of not being able to memorize my facts because that's just not how my brain works.

    When I taught 3rd grade, I never did timed facts tests with my kids. I made sure that they understood multiplication conceptually, we did activities to reinforce the facts, like the multiplication raps CD and worksheets, and doing exercises where you answer the facts by clapping or jumping or whatever the right number of times. My first group of kids will graduate high school this year, and I think they turned out fine.
     
  18. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    I aimed for all facts to 10 times by the end of January. And I expected some errors from most of the class. You might want to consider practicing the concept via various hands-on methods and projects for several weeks.
     
  19. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    I believe using flashcards (and almost always incorrectly) to memorize math facts actually slows the process down for some students. Some students can memorize just about anything you throw in front of them. They don't even need the flashcards, just repeat the facts a few times and they have it. However, most kids aren't like that. Most kids LEARN the facts by repeated and accurate use of the times table in addition to a solid understanding of what multiplication really means and how we can derive the answer for whole numbers by repeated addition incase they forget a fact.

    The missing piece in many (not all) classrooms is both group practice for those who haven't yet learned the facts and practice involving a method to allow for accurate use, such as a multiplication chart. These charts are often seen as crutches and a hindrance, but constant guessing actually causes false connections in the brain which cause more problems if a higher number of accurate connections are not being made.
     
  20. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    3 minutes for 20 facts is too much time.

    Here is how I do multiplication facts in 4th.

    I give each student a packet of 6 pages of I give them 100 problems, all times the same number, like x9, I give them 5 minutes. I tell them to ONLY do the facts they have memorized first ( I model what it looks like), then go through and do the ones they need to spend more time or figure out.

    After 5 min I have them circle all the facts they did not know or had to figure out and right them at the top of the page. Then I have them total up the number of facts they were able to get done in 5 min and right it on the page and circle it.

    Then I teach them how to memorize old school, choose 2-3 facts they did not know, write each one 5 times and say it, do another fact, quiz themselves, rinse and repeat until they have memorized the 2-3 facts. I give them about 7 min to practice memorizing them.

    Then I give them the 2nd page of the 5 min test. I have them right the number they got right on the top of the page. Most students will improve. The idea is to get the students to see the connection between trying to learn the facts and actual progress.

    The next day I have them practice 2-3 new facts and then take the next page of problems as a quiz. I do this everyday. Students will improve everyday.

    The idea is to get the students to see the connection between trying to learn the facts and actual progress.
     
  21. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    I consider that to be more than one fact. If it's 3s, then that's 10-12 facts, depending on how high you go with them. That's a lot to memorize for a kid, if they also have vocabulary and spelling words.
     
  22. amakaye

    amakaye Enthusiast

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    Have your kids actually learned/mastered the concepts of multiplication? If they haven't, it does not really make any sense to already have them memorizing the facts. We won't even touch the concept of multiplication until November or December. Only after we've thoroughly covered the concepts (done all the things that others have mentioned) will we start memorizing our facts. Also, have they mastered 2's, 5's, and 10's? Those are the ones we start with.
     
  23. 3Sons

    3Sons Connoisseur

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    Memorizing multiplication tables was something that just never sat well with me. My third grade teacher would do drills where she would walk around the room and then point at a student and shout (it always seemed like shouting, anyway) a multiplication problem, and you had to answer within a second or two. All the stress of testing combined with public embarrassment for failure. You can guess how much I did not enjoy being in that class. :(

    Can such memorization be done, even by those like myself? Sure. I did it with my middle son, who is terrible at memorization (to the point where in third grade I think he hadn't memorized all his classmates names for three or four weeks.) We had him do math tables all through second grade. Having him finish could take an hour or an hour and a half, every single night, with him crying and complaining and resisting through the entire thing. Was it worth it? Well, maybe -- eventually we found a math video game on the Nintendo DS and almost overnight his time dropped from an hour and a half to under five minutes. When he got to timed tests in third grade he would have a hundred problems done in less than a minute, so they weren't a source of stress for him at all.

    Now he's in sixth grade, and his calculation ability is fast enough that our oldest (who is gifted, and particularly so in math) frequently relies on him for rapid calculation of triple-digit numbers.

    You might want to check with your two kids who got A's on whether this was the first time they saw the material. My bet is you could test them on the rest of multiplication and they'd still get A's, even for the things you've never taught.
     
  24. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    [
    I only do one fact a week. Last week was 3s, next week 4s (maybe).[/QUOTE]


    As a former 3rd grade teacher, I do think teaching one fact a week at the beginning of 3rd grade is too fast. I found it was better to spend more time on a fact to really make sure they know it. I wanted to make sure the students really were able to have them all known before they walked out of the door at the end of 3rd grade.

    Make sure you leave plenty of time for regrouping subtraction such as problems like 402- 134. It will take time for some to really get the hang of these. I usually taught this at the beginning of 3rd grade. I didn't touch multiplication until at least October.
     
  25. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    My daughter and I were just reviewing her 9s in the car for her timed test today. She's in 5th grade now, but I remember doing the same thing when she was in 3rd.
     
  26. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    Same here. The CCSS (if you're a CCSS state) have 2nd graders learning about arrays, but multiplication doesn't actually start until 3rd grade. So, yes, I would think that is a lot to ask of 3rd graders at the beginning of the year.
     
  27. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    Third graders are still developing their brains to the point where it's really unfair to give grades in a skill like multiplication.

    8 year olds can't do what they physically can't do. Why make them feel bad if it's not their fault?

    I would give progress reports to the family, but not a failing grade.
     
  28. heavens54

    heavens54 Connoisseur

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    The game of war played with a deck of cards with face cards removed is good practice for them, when they get more comfortable with the concept.
     
  29. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    3rd graders should know their multiplication facts fluently by the end of 3rd grade, so maybe it's a little too much for them at this point in the school year?
     
  30. queenie

    queenie Groupie

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    Same here!
     
  31. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    As a former 3rd grade teacher, I do think teaching one fact a week at the beginning of 3rd grade is too fast. I found it was better to spend more time on a fact to really make sure they know it. I wanted to make sure the students really were able to have them all known before they walked out of the door at the end of 3rd grade.

    Make sure you leave plenty of time for regrouping subtraction such as problems like 402- 134. It will take time for some to really get the hang of these. I usually taught this at the beginning of 3rd grade. I didn't touch multiplication until at least October.[/QUOTE]

    Same here. And still, by the end of the year many of my kids were better at multiplication than subtraction with regrouping. That needs lots of attention I find.
     
  32. miss-m

    miss-m Devotee

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    I remember spending ALL YEAR on multiplication when I was in 3rd grade. We were able to learn them at mostly our own pace, which for me was definitely slower than the rest of the class (12s were TORTURE, I still can't recall them very quickly haha). My teacher gave us tons and tons of practice just writing them and quizzing all year though, so it could be that a week just wasn't enough time for most of your class. I feel like it took me forever to learn my multiplication facts. :/
    Make it low-risk and give them more time -- the added anxiety of a timed test makes it so hard to remember facts you've just barely learned.
     
  33. showmelady

    showmelady Companion

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    I too remember working on multiplication all year. But we had to memorize all the multiplication tables up to 12s. We didn't use flash cards, but rote drills. Do your students do both or just the flash cards?
     
  34. schoolteacher

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