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School Blog : Times Tables

Learning the facts to the times tables can help the children master calculations working with larger numbers and multiple operations. Quick recall of the times tables facts is an important skill that will support the children throughout their lives as they move from school into the world of work and adult family life. It is an essential skill to help everyone show their understanding of numbers and abilities to apply the facts when needed to a range of situations.

You should look for opportunities throughout the school week where the children can practise recalling and using the times tables facts in both formal and informal situations. Using games and the support of parents can help the children master the times tables facts to provide them with confidence in solving a range of number problems.

Repetition, Repetition, Repetition
The key to helping the children master the times tables facts is getting them to chant the calculations in a range of situations. As well as getting the children to chant the times tables as part of a maths lesson starter, you can look for other times in the school day where the children can repeat the times tables facts such as when the class are waiting to go into the hall for a school assembly or when the children have packed up quickly at the end of the day leaving a few minutes spare. Help the children cement the facts into their brains by getting them to chant the times tables in different ways. The children could chant the tables using different vocabulary phrases i.e. four times two, four twos, four sets of two, four lots of two, four groups of two etc. They can also try reciting the tables going forward and backwards. So that the chanting of the times tables does not turn into0 a chore get the children to try saying the tables in different voices i.e. Can you say the four times tables posher? Can you say the four times tables quicker? Can you whisper the four times table?

Quick Fire Questions
Once the class are familiar with all of the times tables you can select random times during the school day when you can test individual children’s knowledge of a particular times table. During different lessons and activities, you can quickly select one of the class to answer a times table calculation. If the child manages to answer the question correctly you can drop a marble into a jar or stick a star on a chart. Once the jar or chart is filled then the whole class can receive a reward. You can also encourage the children to ask quick fire questions to some of their classmates when they have an opportunity during the lesson. Select a table for the class to concentrate on and tell the children to ask three other pupils calculations from the table throughout the school day to test their recall.

Times Tables Games
Build games and activities into maths lessons to help reinforce the children’s understanding and recall of the times tables facts. Get the class to play a game of bingo where they are recalling times tables products to match listed questions. The first child to fill a four by two grid of products for a specific times tables can win. You can also get the class to develop their own games where the players can advance around the board by answering times tables questions. The games can be laminated so that they can be used in different lessons to provide plenty of opportunities for the children to practise recalling times tables facts. You could also allow the children to play the games during a wet playtime or they could take the games homes to play with their parents and siblings.

Parental Support
Engaging the support of parents will be key in helping the children successfully learn all of the times tables facts. Choose a table for the class to focus on during one week of the school year. Tell the parents to look for opportunities to test their child’s recall of the selected times table i.e. travelling in the car on the way to shops, when walking the family dog, around the dinner table etc. You can also invite parents into an after school meeting to share some ideas for games and activities to help them support their child’s recall of the times tables. It would also be useful during their meeting to explain to parents why it is important for their children to learn the times tables facts and how they can be used to support calculations working with larger numbers.

Number Calculations
It is important that you demonstrate to the class the importance of learning the times tables facts to support calculations of larger numbers or with multiple operations. When modelling a multiplication or division calculation, the children can identify the mental calculations needed to break the problem into a series of smaller steps. This will reinforce the children’s understanding of the importance of being able to recall the times tables facts to make it easier when solving more complicated maths problems. When the children are also solving some multiplication or division calculations encourage them to record the times tables facts that they are using to completed a particular step of a number problem.

Times Tables tricks
Some children will naturally find it more difficult to remember all of the facts from the times tables. You can demonstrate how the children can use the knowledge of the two times tables to find the facts for the four and eight times table by doubling the products i.e. 3 x 2 = 6 so 3 x 4 = 12 and 3 x 8 = 24. Help the children to also understand that they can double the facts in the three times tables to identify the products in the six times table i.e. 5 x 3 = 15 so 5 x 6 = 30. Demonstrate how to find the facts for the eleven times table by adding to the product of the ten times table i.e. 4 x 11 = 4 x 10 and then add four.

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