I don’t know about you guys, but getting my kids to practice multiplication facts is *thisclose* to near impossible. My school does have a neat computer program called Fast Math that the students use and enjoy. For many, though, it is simply not enough. They need lots and lots and lots of exposure and repetitions of multiplication facts and also strategies.

Many of my students try to add 9 seven times and get 61. Then of course, he or she just might argue they are right because they did the work. Oye.

Now that we are moving into 2 and 3 digit multiplication it is SO much harder for the kids that don’t know their facts OR have no other strategies other than adding to find the answers.

So I/ we have gone all kinds of hard core. We are now playing Around the World daily. I am sure everyone knows this game, but I am going to share my twist. The class sits in a circle on the carpet. I have two packs of multiplication flash cards. I use one pack of cards for the game. Each students is flashed a card and then I (I am the only one that gets to do any sort of counting!) count in my head, silently to 10. If the student knows the answer by this time or before, they keep the card and are still in the game. If the students does not know the answer or gets the answer incorrect they are out. Here is my twist. Then they get a small stack of flash cards from the other pack – maybe 5-6. They go to their desks and go over the cards continuously. No peeking to watch the game, they just practice their cards.

We (my co-teacher and I) explain that we give only a few cards so they are more likely to memorize them. We explain THIS is their time to practice so they can stay in the game longer- don’t waste it by not practicing! At first kids didn’t take it seriously- UNTIL I made a big deal because the kids that actually DID practice after they were out the first game, stayed in longer the next game.

When we first played the game, we played three rounds in 10 minutes because they ALL got out so quickly. That was maybe a week ago. On Monday we played ONE round in the same amount of time and had to stop with SEVEN winners because I RAN OUT of flash cards (clearly I need a third pack!!). Yahoo!

The next game I will be introducing is a Multiplication Fact Bee. I did this with my fourth graders years ago and I guess it is time to dust off this game! Here is how to play this one:

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Mandy Gregory is a 2007 and 2012 Teacher of the Year. She has taught 4th, 3rd, and 2nd grade in both the general education and inclusion setting. She is the owner and creator of the Teaching Tips website (www.mandygregory.com) and has over 10 years of experience. She is married with two beautiful children.