Some more ideas coming your way to tackle those times tables!
Kids love games and tech. Top Marks Hit The Button is a great game for children to practise their speed of answering times tables questions. I’ve played ‘Vs Siri‘ where I ask the class iPad a times tables question and the class have to answer it before Siri does. Never have I seen a class become so competitive!
Making the times tables into a story can help build context.
However, some of our stories have been completely random beyond belief!
For example, one theme chosen was a cafe. And the class were buying lots of food! As our focus was the 7 times table, all the food was in packs of… you’ve guessed it! 7! Here is what the story evolved into:
I went into my local cafe and bought bags of cookies. Each bag had 7 cookies. I bought 4 bags of chocolate chip. (At this point, the class would write the calculation and the answer on their whiteboards and hold them up as quick as they could).
I then bought 7 bags of double chocolate.
I was still feeling hungry and moved onto mini cake bites (packs of 7 of course)! I bought chocolate slices – 8 packs of those and 2 packs of carrot cake slices. (Sometimes I throw two times table questions that the children have to answer and then add together).
And so it would continue!
My class used to hate fractions. Even the word could send a rumble of groans across the room. So I have made it my mission to overcome this by incorporating fractions into times tables. These are the types of questions we would work with:
Initially, I received some of the funniest looks I had ever seen. However…once we had talked about what the question was asking, how the numbers could link within the question, there was an element of calm that descended in the room. The children could spot the links, they knew what to look out for and how to answer the question when a missing box was thrown in.
Children are meant to be getting at least 1 hour of exercise everyday. I have been trying to find different ways to incorporate movement into my maths lessons. Playing various games linked to times tables has been a great way to get my class active and give them a break from their desks.
One game that we play is the ‘groups game‘. The children wonder around the classroom and I will say a multiple of the times table that we are working on. For example, for the 7 times table, I may say 56. The children then have to get into groups of the number multiplied by 7 to make 56 (8). Any children who cannot get into a group, are sadly out. This game has definitely helped increase their speed of recall, as they are desperate to make it into a group!
If a particular times table question is proving to be a sticking point for majority of the class, I will ask them about this times table at random points during the day. For example, the children could be working on an independent task, and I will ask, ‘seven eights?’ to which the children will say the answer. I found that my class enjoyed trying to say the answer the fastest. On some days, I have asked every child the same times table question before they go out to lunch. Not only have they become fed up of it, but also confident at the same time. The children near the end of the line know the answer that they need to say. If I ask the children enough times over the course of a day/week, most do remember that particular times table question.
I started my teaching journey as a teaching assistant, whilst studying for my degree with the Open University in my spare time. I passed my teaching qualification in 2017, and I have never looked back. I am now maths subject leader at my school, which is both scary and exciting! Yes – maths can be exciting, I promise! I have also been Staedtler Teachers’ Club Ambassador for the past year, which is great fun! I can safely say I love this job. I have a very positive outlook to teaching. The role comes with many mountains to climb, but I will always be the one to spot the funny shaped boulder along the way! There are two quotes that I like to remind myself of when things feel tough: ‘Don’t forget to have fun!’ and ‘The road to success is always under construction’. When I’m not being ‘Miss Sattin’, I like to keep active, go to the cinema, annoy my two ragdoll cats and ensure I keep up to date with the latest episode of Casualty.