It took me a while to figure that multiplication worksheets are the best way to teach
multiplication. I'd been taught that counting, addition, and skip counting are steps to
multiplication. Addition is fast counting. Skip counting and multiplication are fast addition.
Since Math is a step by step discipline, it is necessary to teach the basics first, and in order,
so that the higher levels make sense and become easy to learn. What makes multiplication
drills easy? The same thing that makes counting easy repetition. I used printable multiplication
worksheets for the repetition.
If your student makes a mistake, have him say or copy the equation three times. The sooner
the better. If your student misnames the numbers, practice counting that particular decade:
ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, sixteen, seventeen, eighteen, nineteen, and
twenty. Keep moving though. Don't stop if he is not perfect. Just so you know, I think that
there's a lot about Mastery Learning that holds many students from quick success. Think
about it, every time children say numbers they are learning their names, why linger too long
with mere counting children think that's dumb. Simply take a moment to count well as you add
new concepts. The next few years of repetition will correct most confusion automatically.
As you begin teaching multiplication facts, sort out the zeros and the ones. The zeros are
nullity and the ones are identity; neither is true multiplication. Teaching the ones and the zeros
separately, and first, takes one or two rows off any multiplication facts chart.
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Model the multiplication signs, too; an x, an asterisk, and parentheses. Point out that, at first,
the students will use an x as one of the main multiplication signs.
Skip counting is fun for most children and makes it easy to learn the math times tables. Many
of the tables lend themselves to multiplication rhymes, especially the twos, fives, and tens that
end in the same sounds. Skip counting is easier to memorize than the multiplication times
table chart, but guess what? Skip counting is the very same chart. Once your students know
the ones, twos, threes, fives and tens they know most of the multiplication tables chart from 1
Then move to reading the equations that are represented on the multiplication table chart. For
the first reviews and practice, use multiplication flashcards to model the equations with the
answer side toward the students. Say each equation with its answer three times and have
them repeat out loud. This multiplication practice is all that some children need! Simply
reviewing the multiplication facts often will teach many of the rest of the children who are in
Some children seem to absorb the multiplication tables through the years simply by using the
little multiplication chart in the back of their composition notebooks. These students frequently
know their division facts also by the very nature of the relationship between multiplication and
division on the chart. It is also great to have a printable multiplication chart handy to print.
Speaking of the division facts, be encouraged to teach division with, or soon after, teaching
multiplication. Both multiplication and division use the same numbers in reverse order and
they are easy to practice together.
One of the best aids to children understanding what they are doing with skip counting is to use
Math manipulatives to show the relationship and value of the numbers being multiplied. This is
a giant help with word problems later. Once the children can read they can visualize what the
equation should be. Remember, though, the best Mathematical freedom you can offer your
students is to help them memorize the multiplication facts for fast recall and easy use.
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Over the years I've learned to simply repeat the facts. It helps after the children have worked
on several tables to go back and review the skip counting.
They often are thrilled to see how easy multiplication can be if they remember the skip
counting. If they don't remember it, they also find it easier to learn at this point since they see
that they're getting right to the answers.
Any time a student misses the right answer, simply say the right answer with the equation to
replace the wrong answer in his memory.
If you don't have the time to use multiplication flash cards, use a multiplication worksheet so
your students can copy the right answer with the equation or use Math games like the
FlashMaster and the Math Shark.
We like to recommend copying the equations three times each while saying them out loud on
multiplication practice worksheets.
It also helps to have printable multiplication tables for them to fill in the answers. After the
equations are reviewed, use the flashcards as a quiz to see if the children learned the facts
and to jiggle their incentive to pay attention better the next time.
The FlashMaster and Math Shark have flash card quizzes built in. We've seen children as
young as seven years old who learned all four tables in less than six months with this method.
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