Times Tables & Independence
That "look" we've all given when a kid explains how they arrived at an answer to a math problem.
How can you support a child who struggles to retain information like their times-tables?
I again revert to SLOOM with this (click here to learn about SLOOM), but here is another quick-win strategy I use with kids who struggle their times tables. Again, it’s for some – not all – kids!
Regular, daily practice of times tables-
Practice skip counting in the number you want them to learn. For example, if you want them to learn their 4s, begin counting in 4s with the number “0” by PUNCHING the air and making a fist (hold up no fingers). From then on, hold a finger up for every number thereafter – 0-4-8-12-16-20-24-28-32-36-40. By the time they get to 40 they should have all ten fingers held up.Once you know they can do that securely, you can then say…
We are now going to count in 4s up to 12. How many fours will we count? Remember to begin at 0 and punch 0. Ready, go!
If they correctly stop at 12, they should have three fingers up.
Then ask “How many 4s did we count? They should correctly answer “3”.
This will not fix everything, but it provides another self-learning strategy for your kids.
TIP: "PUNCHING" THE AIR FOR THE FIRST NUMBER TO SOLVE BASIC OPERATIONS CAN WORK WONDERS FOR MAKING SURE KIDS DO NOT COUNT THE NUMBER ZERO IN THEIR SEQUENCE. TRY IT!
What are some ideas you have for supporting a child to move from hands-on (concrete) maths learning to paper and pencil work?
Any change in a teaching programme, method, or resource for a kid with additional learning needs should be scaffolded. This means that the new ideas are slowly introduced while linking them to skills a child already has. Keep in mind, this process takes longer and requires SLOOM teaching for young people with any sort of learning difficulty (learn about SLOOM here).
As I mentioned last week, the best method I have come across for bridging the gap from concrete (hands-on) learning to abstract (solving on paper) is by drawing out the shapes of Base-10 blocks (click here for a step-by-step). While a range of concrete resources are useful for teaching students’ conceptual understanding of the number system, Base-10s (“Dienes blocks” in the UK) are the most versatile and can be easily drawn as squares, sticks and dots.
I introduce new ideas (and sometimes review old ones) in this format:
My turn - Together - Your turn
My turn – Using self-talk and metacognitive strategies,
I say out loud my thought process for problem-solving or counting up number. I model language in a script-like manner to give students a consistent routine to follow.
Together- We then solve a problem together using the same language I used in step 1.
Your turn- I then check for understanding and ask them to solve a problem on their own. This gives me immediate feedback on my teaching, including how much more time I need to spend on a concept or idea.
Let me know what you think about these ideas. If you have any other questions you'd like answered, don't hesitate to send them over... and don't forget to subscribe!
Next week we'll answer the question:
Why is place value so hard to understand?!