So what do we do?
Here are a few suggestions:
1. It always helps when students are familiar with their multiples first. That way, if they do need to resort to their fingers for skip counting, they can do it quickly and easily until they memorize. Sooner or later, after having to figure out what 3 x 4 is, they will memorize it.
2. There are many on-line programs (even free programs) that focus on multiplication facts. Sometimes kids are motivated to practice when it is on-line in a game-like format. If you have classroom funds, "First in Math" is a fantastic investment. It runs about $8 a student and runs for a year.
3. Make fact problems part of every warm-up, every day.
4. Use arrays to help students memorize the square numbers (3x3, 4x4,) In our classroom, we had Crazy Eight, a square with 64 hunting dogs!
5. A school-wide program of recognition, or even a grade-level focus with incentives may put a buzz in the air around learning facts.
6. If you do use flashcards, use Triangle Fact Cards. That way, students have 3 visual numbers to connect with, they are subliminally getting the message of how multiplication and division work together and you can change which missing number you are looking for, which prepares them for those more difficult 6 x __ = 24 type questions. Triangle Fact Cards
|Triangle Number Cards|
|Check for missing product|