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    Multiplication Facts
    By Margaret

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    I teach fifth grade and of course I still have students who do not know their multiplication facts. However, the number of those who don't know their facts is growing smaller all the time. I give timed drills of 100 math facts (through the 10s table). The drills must be completed in 4 minutes, a recommendation I took from the publisher. At the beginning of the year not a one of my students could meet this challenge. Now, more than half of my inclusion class has learned their facts. We check the drill, pen in hand, as a class. No judgments are made about how many are missed, but after the drill each student who has missed any facts must fold a sheet of notebook paper to make 4 columns (fold the right edge over to the far margin line, then fold the fold over to the far margin line again and then open the paper). In each of these 4 columns, students must do their write-offs. They self-select 4 facts to learn and write each fact over and over down a column of the paper (usually 20 or more times, depending, of course, on the number of lines the paper has). They must write the fact (6 x 4 = 24) and not write a row of 6s, a row of x's, a row of 4s, etc. because they are writing to memorize a fact, not a row of 6s. (I hope this makes sense.) Before the drill, we get psyched by chanting some of the troublesome facts (6x4, 6x6, 6x8, 7x7, 8x8, and the hardest of all--6x7).

    Other ways we work on this is to skip count in line as we're waiting for lunch. The penalty for missing is to go to the end of the line. We also play Buzz when we have extra class time. It's a very easy game where you must substitute the word "Buzz" for multiples of the target number. If we're practicing our 3s, students count off one, two, Buzz, four, five, Buzz, seven, eight, Buzz and so on. Playing Buzz and skip counting really does seem to help, but don't let them take too long to answer or they'll wear their fingers out!

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