I was hoping to do this post last week, but of course time got away from me.. I am excited to do this post because this is a topic that I am very passionate about and something that I believe is important for students to learn at this grade level!!
I teach 4th grade and many of my students come into 4th grade not knowing their multiplication facts, because of the Math Standards in 4th grade, this causes many of my students to struggle with long division and multiplication. It is my goal every year that all of my students memorize their multiplication facts and know them like the back of their hand, by the end of the year. I am going to explain below two ways that I motivate my students to learn their multiplication facts!
#1 Weekly Multiplication Timed Tests
About the 3rd or 4th week into school I begin weekly multiplication timed tests. I give these timed tests 2 days a week (normally towards the beginning and end of the week). My tests have 20 multiplication questions. I allow my students to get 2 or less wrong to move on to the next multiplication test. If they do not pass, they take the same test the next time. If they pass, they receive an ice cream scoop for that fact. There are many different versions of the Multiplication Facts Ice Cream Rewards on TPT, but I use the freebie from Michelle Harper called Multiplication Facts Freezer Frenzy (click the name and it will take you to the link on TPT). Then about half way through the year (usually in December), I give my students an ice cream party to celebrate. Depending on which facts they have mastered, depends on how much ice cream and toppings they will get at the party. Below is a picture and freebie of a poster of what ice cream/toppings students get at the party depending on which facts they mastered. There is also a freebie for the note that I send home to parents about donations for the ice cream party.
Click here to download this poster for FREE!!
Click here to download a FREE note home for volunteers/donations for the party!
After the party, any student's who have not mastered all of their multiplication facts continue to work on them. I normally give students who have mastered their facts a break until January when they start memorizing their division facts. I will be doing another post in the next couple of weeks to explain how I use division facts the 2nd half of the year to help my students learn their division facts!
This is a sample of my multiplication timed tests that are sold in my TPT store. Click here to see them in my store!
NOTE: I know everyone's opinion on if these tests should be graded is different, but I do take them for a grade. Instead of taking both test grades each week, I only put the highest timed test grade in the gradebook. This way if a student bombs the first test, they still have time to study and get a higher grade on the test later in the week.
#2 Fluency Math Center
Since not all students will practice and memorize their facts at home, I feel that it is important to give them time in the classroom to practice these facts. I do not want to take away too much instructional time, but still realize how important it is that my students know their facts. So, I have created a Math Fluency center where my students practice these facts 2-3 times a week. Since this is a center that I use all year, I wanted to make sure there were many options for my students for practicing these facts. I'm trying to avoid having my student's get bored from the center this way. Below I am going to list the different activities I have at my Math Fluency Center. You can introduce all the activities at the beginning of the year or add activities throughout the year to bring excitement and interest to this center throughout the year!
1.) Multiplication Flash Cards
I allow my students to do flashcards on their own or with a partner. Many of my students love this activity because it gives them a chance to work with another student in their center. I buy my flashcards from the dollar tree. This way I can stock up on a lot of flashcards and I don't feel like I am spending a lot of money on them!
2.) Multiplication Apps
I am lucky to work at a school be that has 1:1 technology for each student. This means that half of the technology in my classroom is Ipads. Of course, my students LOVE using the ipads and anything on the Ipad is a game to them. I have downloaded many different Ipad multiplication fact games/ flashcards for free for my students. I put all of these in a math fluency folder. Here are the names of some free ipad games/flashcards that you can download if you have Ipads in your classroom:
-Math Cards!! (These are online flashcards for all operations)
-Fast Facts Math (Great way for students to practice facts)
-Times Table Quiz (Multiplication Trainer)
-Multiplication for Kids (This one has a wizard in it and many of my students loved that!)
-Math Flash Cards
-Math Monsters (A lot of my students really loved this app too!)
The only thing about the free versions is that some of them only let students get to a certain level or use it for a certain amount of time before it stops them, but you are able to purchase the rest of the app if your student's really like it! There are many more free and inexpensive multiplication apps too if you look in the app store!
3.) Math Wrap Ups
I purchased a couple of these for my classroom a couple years ago and my students love them! It is a great way for students to practice their facts on their own and self check to see if they got the answers correct. These can be purchased at most teaching resource stores but I have also posted a link below the picture of where you could purchase them on Amazon. You might be able to shop around and get them cheaper though!
4.) Multiplication War
Most students know how to play the game of war, which makes explaining this game pretty easy! I normally teach this to my students one of the first couple days of school. This is a game that they can play at home with their parents too because all they need is a deck of cards!
Here are the directions:
1 1.) One student deals out the cards facedown to the 2 players. Each player should have the same amount of cards in a pile in front of them. Players may not look at their cards!
2.) One student says flip and both students flip over their cards. Students must then multiply the 2 numbers together and the student who yells out the correct answer first gets to keep the cards.
3.) Students continue this process until one student has all the cards or students may stop at any given point and whichever student has the most cards is the winner!
I have added a free download of teacher and student directions for FREE here at my TPT store!
Here are just a couple ways that I help motivate my students to learn their multiplication facts! This year, I am going to try adding in daily multiplication facts practice at home for homework. I will update my blog later with how that goes. Remember to check back in the next couple weeks for a post about how I use Division Facts in my classroom!
Comment below if there are any other good multiplication fact motivators that you use to help your students learn their multiplication facts. I am always looking for new ideas :)