Why is memorizing multiplication facts still important after all these years and changes in math? Learning how to memorize multiplication facts is often boring for students. But there are so many benefits. It makes more complicated math easier and allows students to solve multi-step problems with more fluidity. Still, trying to get students to memorize multiplication facts has been a struggle for upper elementary teachers for decades! I am sharing 4 ways to help your students memorize their multiplication facts a little easier.
#1: Use Posters to Help with Memorization of Facts
Visual cues and anchor charts are present in almost all elementary classrooms. We direct students to use the visual resources in our classrooms, allowing them to find information that could help them. Students also can quickly find information they may have forgotten using these charts or cues. These types of resources are especially important for those visual learners! This idea can work to your advantage when helping your students memorize their multiplication facts.
Many teachers and companies have designed beautiful posters which help students understand their multiplication facts. Whether it is a skip-counting poster, or an anchor chart which breaks down different arrays. Posters and visual reminders are a great way to help students recognize and memorize facts. I use posters in my Multiplication Stories Pack and my students love them! As we learn the multiplication stories, we hang a new poster up and they are a visual reminder for my students. The students love to see what each number will look like.
#2: Create Interactive Multiplication Notebooks to Memorize Multiplication Facts
Interactive notebooks are amazing tools to use in your classroom. They allow students to organize and synthesize their thoughts at the same time. Interactive Notebooks also touch many learning styles.
I know what you are thinking. “All those pieces, all that cutting, all that gluing!” But I like to keep interactive notebooks very simple. Give students a multiplication chart. Have students color certain patterns they see. Suggestions: odd x odd = odd, count by 4s are purple, count by 3s are green etc.. or by using the interactive notebook pages in my Multiplication Stories Pack. All my students need to do is cut out the page, glue it in, and fill in a couple of blanks. A simple three-step process with a ton of benefits.
#3: Use Songs, Stories and Rhymes to Aid with Memorization
You know the song. It starts with “a tale as old as time.” Well, whenever we start multiplication. I know I will have the following conversation with at least one student.
Student: “My old sister had your last year! She taught me a new multiplication rhyme.”
Me: “Oh, really! What is it?” (I already know what is coming before they even speak.)
Student: “When 11 met 12, he was so afraid of 12 that he forgot how to count! Instead of counting 123, he counted 132!”
Another story I hear again and again from my students who had older siblings in my class is, “When 7 met 8. They became good friends. They talked about how 5 and 6 are good friends too!” (7×8=56)
Rhymes as old as time. I learned them; you learned it, and now our students are learning it. Creating and writing fun rhymes will help your verbal learners. While listening to them and allowing your students to process them, you’ll notice you are helping your auditory learners!
Find songs to help your students memorize their facts. There are amazing multiplication videos from many companies on YouTube. My students love watching them during snack. There are also many picture books, which incorporate math fluency and math information to help students understand unfamiliar concepts.
When I was creating my Multiplication Stories Pack, I wanted to make sure each number had a story. Allowing my students to use logical and creative thinking when learning these unknown facts. I want students to see each number has a specific story and a connection to other numbers.
#4: Practice and Review – Bring the Multiplication Facts into Long Term Memory
For students to store a fact in their long-term memories, they must actively recall the memory of the fact at least 30 times. One easy trick I like to do is review each multiplication story and the corresponding facts before we hang up our next multiplication poster. Students repeat the multiplication stories from all the numbers before, and then we learn the new multiplication stories. Students will also notice how some stories are the same. This is a splendid chance to bring in the Commutative Property.
But we also review and practice in other ways as well. My students love playing Buzzer Beater. I break the class into two teams and put a buzzer in front of each team. I say a fact and the student has to hit the buzzer and repeat the multiplication story that matches the fact. Whoever does it first gets the point. What happens if neither student knows the fact story? The teams can use their interactive notebooks (great resource) to find the correct story and share it with the class.
Teachers are always great at letting the creative juices flow when thinking of different ways to practice and review facts. Whether it is a review board game, fluency puzzles, a competitive team game, or using ideas from the three tips above. We can easily help our students practice and review.
Memorizing multiplication facts does not have to mean flashcards and fact quizzes. You can incorporate many strategies and resources to help your students. There are so many ways to help your students engage in memorization. These are just a few suggestions I have found to work wonders in my classroom! Have other ideas or questions? Leave them in the comments section below. I love to see how teachers are using my suggestions or ways I can incorporate other teachers’ ideas/strategies into my classroom!
Click Here to purchase my Multiplication Stories Pack to help your students memorize their facts.
You may also like to learn other ways student can practice their multiplication facts both on paper and online. Check out 5 ways to practice math facts here.
Looking for a classroom transformation that will help your students practice their math facts? You may want to check out Multiplication Fact Boot Camp!