I think my son Bradley is a pretty bright cookie, but then I could be biased. Even so, I was dreading teaching the multiplication and division facts. Why, you ask? Because it seemed like addition and subtraction was such tedious work… for both of us! He didn’t like learning them and was repulsed by flash cards.
So, what’s a good mother to do? I went searching far and wide on blogs, forums, and curriculum publisher sites looking for the magical multiplication solution.
What I found certainly isn’t magical, but it did make learning both multiplication and division much easier than addition and subtraction!
Times Tales: An unlikely learning tool
This year, one of the things we used to supplement our curriculum was a program called Times Tales. Times Tales comes either as a DVD which goes through the teaching process with your child, or in book form where you can direct the teaching with your child. (They’re both the same prices, so of course I went with the DVD!)
The first thing the student will learn when watching Times Tales is that each number is a “character” in the story. They even make visuals of the number into the character (i.e. numbers with faces).
Next, the DVD teaches the student short stories with the characters. All along there are short quizzes through the video about the characters and stories and then finally on the multiplication facts.
I was skeptical. I really wasn’t sure it would work, but I was willing to give it a try. And, I’m sure am glad I did! I found that the characters and stories were exceptionally easy to remember. I watched the DVD with my son and I can still remember all of the stories.
A quick example:
7 = Mrs. Week
8= Mrs. Snowman
Story: Mrs. Week and Mrs. Snowman went for a drive. They were so busy talking they weren’t paying attention and were going 56 miles per hour which was one mile over the speed limit.
The video has a little clip of Mrs. Snowman and Mrs. Week in a Car with a speed limit sign for 55 mph.
So now, we know that 7 x 8 = 56. Cool, huh?
You can also go and check out this short video explaining Times Tales.
- It only taught the upper times tables. Though they are the harder facts to memorize, I wish it taught more of them! (It teaches the following tables: 3×6, 3×7, 3×8, 3×9, 4×6, 4×7, 4×8, 4×9, 6×6, 6×7, 6×8, 6×9, 7×7, 7×8, 7×9, 8×8, 8×9, and 9×9).
- It looks low budget. The characters are simple sketches and the audio and video quality isn’t great.
- It works!
- The program comes on a DVD which teaches all of the characters and stories for you.
- Included is a second CD with extra resources that can be printed out: flashcards, dice game, quiz sheets, and crossword puzzles.
- I can use all of the materials over again when it’s time for my other kids to learn their times tables.
- Even Cameron, my 3-year-old, had fun watching the DVD with us. But don’t get too excited, he doesn’t know his times tables yet!
We are still working on picking up speed on all of his math facts and perfecting the facts that weren’t covered in Times Tales. For that we’ve been using another supplement I’ll tell you about in a future post. If you are facing the math facts dilemma, I hope this resource might help you too.