Archive for the ‘Teach/teaching your child the multiplication tables.’ Category

Does Your Attitude Towards Math Influence Your Child?

Friday, July 16th, 2010

 

istock-girl-in-math-class1

 

At book fairs, some parents tell me they weren’t particularly good at math.  Some will go even further and say they hated math. Some go even further than that and say, “My daughter’s a dummie in math like me.”  What’s shocking to me is they tell me this with their child standing at their side.  STOP and think what this message conveys to your child:

  

·     Mom/dad wasn’t good in math so maybe I won’t be either.

·     Mom/dad wasn’t good in math and doesn’t expect me to be good in math either.

·     I’ll show up mom/dad by if I do well in math.  They won’t like it if I’m smarter.

 

If you say YOU hate math, be aware you are shaping your child’s attitude toward math, particularly if you’re a mom speaking to a daughter.  Your daughter loves you and seeks to be just like you.  She may pick up the false message math isn’t for girls.  Now most moms would never say, “I hate reading.  I hate books. I haven’t read a book since high school.”  Yet somehow it’s okay for parents to disparage their math skills. 

 

If YOU say your child is a dummie in math like you, you are setting your child up for failure.  Your child may choose not to disappoint you.  Like mother, like daughter?  Like father, like son?

 

My recommendation:  do not to share your negative math experience with your children but encourage them.  If you feel you must share this experience, frame it this way:

  

·      I had trouble with math but you won’t because you have a parent who really cares about your success in math and will help you.

·      Your teacher also cares about your success in math and will help you. 

·      You have resources I didn’t have such as fun workbooks, video tutorials, multiplication CDs and math video games.

 

My point is:  your negative experience should not influence your child.  Although you had a negative experience, you expect your child to have a positive experience.  You expect your child to succeed in math.  Your child will fulfill these expectations.  There are few parents who do not have the basic skills to make sure their third grader succeeds in math.   Do not project your negative experience onto your child but rather give him or her the extra help and reassurance your child needs to succeed. 

 

                      Image by Robert Hunt/istockphoto.com

Multiplying by Eleven? Discover Fun, Easy Patterns!

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

number-11.

Everyone loves multiplying numbers 1-9 by 11 because of their fun, double-number patterns:  11, 22, 33, 44, 55, 66, 77, 88 and 99.

For two-digit numbers, add the first and second digits and place the answer between these.  Example:  45 x 11 = ___.

·         Four plus five is 9.

·         Place 9 between 4 and 5.

·         The answer is 495.

When the sum of the first and second digits is greater than 9, increase the left-hand number by 1.  Example:  28 x 11 = ____. 

·         Add the first and second digits:  2 + 8 = 10. 

·         Add the 1 to the 2:  1 + 2 = 3.

·         Place the 0 between 3 and 8. 

·         The answer is:  308.

By teaching children these fun, easy patterns, we will instill in them a love of numbers and fascination with math.

A Deck of Cards to Practice the Times Tables?

Sunday, May 2nd, 2010

deck-of-cardsHere’s a fun game your family can play to review the times tables.  For beginners, remove the face cards.  Give aces a value of 1.  Divide the deck into two. Take the top two cards of the each deck and have your child multiply these.  Example:  8 x 7 =? 

Why not also practice addition and subtraction at this time?  This will help reinforce the commutative property of multiplication and addition, i.e.,  8 x 7 is the same as 7 x 8.   The order does not matter.  8 x 7 = 7 x 8.   The same for addition:   8 + 7 is the same as 7 + 8.  However, the order  matters in subtraction.  8 – 7 is not the same as  7 – 8.  The order does matter.  8 – 7 = 1 but  7 -8= -1.  If  you owe someone $8 but give that person $7, you owe that person $1.  You are minus $1.

For more advanced students, include the face cards.  The King would represent 12; the Queen, table 11 and the Jack, is a wild card.  It can represent any number your child chooses.  Table 11 is easy because of its fun pattern —  the doubling of each number:  22, 33, 44 and so on.  Table 12 has to be learned.  If need be, provide pencil and paper and have your child actually do the multiplication.  This will give your child practice in double-digit multiplication. 

For multiplying numbers 10 to 18 by 11, notice how the middle number is the sum of the number being multiplied.  Example:  12 x 11 =  132  [1 + 2= 3 — three is the middle number.]  Another example:  14 x 11  = 154.   How easy is that?  When the sum is larger than 9 as in 19 x 11,  increase the left-hand number by 1.  Example:  11 x 9 =  209 [1 + 9 = 10.  The middle number will be 0.  Carry the 1 and 1+1 = 2]. 

Make learning math a GAME in your house.  Math is fun!

Bullying at School, the Phoebe Prince Tragedy

Friday, April 16th, 2010

I just read an article, “Girl’s Suicide Increases Urgency to Prevent Teen Bullying,” which appeared in The Seattle Times April 7, 2010.

Teen-age bullying is once again in the news with the tragic suicide of  fifteen-year-old Phoebe Prince. This horrific story is all the more poignant as Phoebe and her family had recently immigrated to Massachusetts from a small town in Ireland and entered school only last year.   “She was new and she was from a different country and she didn’t really know the school very well,” Ashlee Dunn, a sixteen-year old sophomore, said.  (This quote and all others are from The Seattle Times article.)

I can see the movie version now:  idyllic Irish town where Phoebe is popular and respected by peers versus the daily hell of harassment she endured at South Hadley High.  After a brief relationship with a popular senior boy, some students called her an “Irish slut”  and began sending her abusive text messages.  District Attorney Elizabeth Schelbel said the events leading to Phoebe’s death were “the culmination of a nearly three-month campaign of verbally assaultive behavior and threats of physical harm.”  Yet no one did anything to stop this harassment. 

On the last day of school, Phoebe was viciously harassed.  As she studied in the library,  students taunted her while others including a teacher watched.  A canned drink was thrown at her on her way home from school.  “It appears Phoebe’s death on January 14 followed a tortuous day for her in which she was subjected to verbal harassment and threatened physical abuse,”  Scheibel said.  Her sister discovered her body, dressed in school clothes, hanging in the stairwell.

Parents at South Hadley want accountability.  Why hadn’t teachers or administrators intervened?  Why wasn’t someone looking out for this young girl, new to the school and to America?  Last year in Springfield, MA an eleven-year-old boy committed suicide.  He too was unable to endure painful bullying.  Many of us experienced bullying at school but in our day other than a nasty phone call, bullying did not follow you into your home.  Today there is texting is at every teenager’s fingertips and Facebook is accessible 24/7  to friends and enemies.  The opportunities for bullying have grown exponentially. 

Parents, listen to your children.  Ask you child each day how the day went. If your child might be experiencing mood swings, depression or unwillingness to talk, seek out a therapist.  If there’s any hint of peer harrassment or cyberbullying, go immediately to the school principal. Ask the principal not only to speak to those bullying but their parents.  If this harrassment is happening in class, visit the teacher.  Ask to sit in the class. Speak to the school counselor.  If the school does not respond, consider removing your child from school and homeschooling at least for a period.   None of us would put up with this environment in the workplace.  Why should we put up with it in our schools?

We need a new model of schools, smaller schools with more counselors.  In smaller schools, students are better cared for and better supervised.  Teachers have fewer students and know them better.  Their job is easier.  No child in our schools need endure what Phoebe Prince endured.  No family should lose a child because of harassment or bullying by peers.  We must protect our children.   Coming to America should not mean losing a child to suicide because of teen bullying.

California spring is here!

Friday, April 9th, 2010

Like everyone else, I’ve been bogged down compiling receipts and statements to file my taxes.  The software does the math but still there is all that data to collect.    This is math time, number crunch times.  I always find it so darn . . .  taxing.

Okay, one step at a time, I tell myself and then glance out the window.    Spring has come and all the liquid amber in my garden shimmer in the sunlight.   Because of the copious amounts of rain in California this winter,  the hills are green.   The wild mustard in the canyons is now as tall as the hikers, bright yellow patches among every shade of green on the mountain slopes and beyond the deep blue of the Pacific.  So I’m heading out for a hike this afternoon.  The numbers can wait till this evening.

“Who’s Afraid of the Seven Times Table?” Ian Stewart Asks

Monday, March 29th, 2010
Dr. Ian Stewart

Dr. Ian Stewart

 

 

I happened to come across an interesting article on www.Timesonline.com,  the London Times’ website.   What caught my attention was the title:  “Who’s Afraid of the Seven Times Table?”  by Dr. Ian Stewart, Emeritus Professor of Mathematics at the University of Warwick

When I developed my method for my son, we found table 7 the most difficult.  Why?  First of all, 7 in an odd number.   Even numbers are easy.  Table 10 has a super easy pattern and then tables 2, 4, 6 and 8 all end in some combination of 2-4-6-8-0!  How easy is that?  Now for the tables for odd numbers 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9.   Table 1 is a cinch, as is table 5 with its super easy pattern (don’t you love the rhyme?) and how about the pattern for 9?  Could any table be more fun?  Number 0-9 in the left column and 9 to 0 on the right.  See, you just completed table 9!   All multiples of 9 add up to 9.  Go ahead and try it:  18 (1  +9), 27 (2 + 9) and so on! 

I knew if the 9’s had a fun pattern, so would the 3’s because 9 is a multiple of 3 and math is always logical.  So my son and I sat down and guess what?  When you add up the multiples of 3, you get a 3-6-9 pattern.  Go ahead and try it:  12 (1+2), 15 (1+5), 18 (1+8).  So now only table 7 was left for us to ponder.  What I discovered is the last number decreases by 3.  So its pattern is the opposite of table 3 which increases by 3.

In Teach Your Child the Multiplication Tables, I present the tables in order of difficulty.  First, come tables 1 & 10, then tables 2 and 8 because of their similar patterns and then tables 4 and 6.  Now come odd numbers in this order: 5, 9, 3 and 7.   After publishing my book, it was gratifying to discover that mathematicians opined that table 7 was indeed the hardest to master.

In his article, Dr. Stewart states there are better ways of teaching the times tables than rote memorization.  That, in fact,  “times tables need not be boring at all.”  He goes on to say, “There are lots of hidden patterns in the numbers, lots of easy short cuts, lots of interesting fact with which to have fun.”  That’s what I found too.

Dr. Stewart describes the pattern for tables 10, 5, 9 and 7.  The last number of the 7’s, he explains, decreases by 3 .  He explains how you can figure out the 7’x on your mobile phone keypad.  You can do this because of how the numbers are configured on the keypad.   The column on the left is : 1, 4 and 7. Start with the 7 in the bottom row and work upward.  7 x 1 = 7.  Move up the keypad to 4 and 7 x 2 =14.  Move up to 1 for the third operation and 7 x 3= 21.   Patterns are fun!

Our mind is designed to search for patterns.  Patterns please us. Babies react more favorable to symmetical faces.  Symmetry is a pleasing pattern.

Patterns are easy to remember because we learn one rule and apply it to the whole.  If I told you my phone number was (214) 314-4114, you instantly would recognize a pattern and might not need to write the number down. So why not learn easy patterns for each of the tables?

My son loved disvereing patterns.  There’s excitement in discovery. I published Teach Your Child the Multiplication Tables to help other families.   If all third graders thought “math is cool,” we’d have fewer school dropouts.  I won’t begin to ennumerate here the social consequences of children in the U.S. and elsewhere not knowing their times tables.  What I will do is urge parents to teach their children their times tables.   This skill is too important to be left to schools alone.  You can do it.  Better yet, you must do it.

Benefits of Workbook for Children with Dyslexia

Friday, March 5th, 2010

I received an email  from a mom whose 3rd grade daughter has dyslexia.  She found my book on Amazon and decided to give it a try.  She mentions the following benefits:

  1. My workbook is entertaining to her daughter.
  2. Her daughter is amazed at the patterns she unlocks.
  3. Her daughter loves the repetition.
  4. Repetition is good for dyslexic children.
  5. The multiplication problems are in large font.
  6. The spacing of problems is good.
  7. Spacing has to be ample so the numbers don’t blur into one another.
  8. Her daughter likes that the first or last number is given.  This jogs her memory.
  9. The shading in the problems needing to be completed is a huge help to her.

This mom ends with:  “Thank you for all the help this workbook has given to us and the confidence it has brought to my daughter.”

The features also help children with ADD/ADHD.  If you have a story about your child and his/her response to my method, I would love to hear from you on my blog or on the CONTACT button on my website.  If your child has AUTISM, I would like to know how your child did with my method.  I know autistic children love patterns.

Many Thanks to Jackie in the UK!

Thursday, March 4th, 2010

This review appeared on Amazon:

Best Multiplication tables book!  I bought a multiplication book, but then saw this one and bought this too. This is by far the best multiplication book. It is fun and easy and my little one loves it. I am glad I got this one. Absolutely perfect. 

My response  Jackie in the UK,
Thank you for your review! When my son balked at learning the tables through rote memorization, I knew there had to be a better way! Day by day, we discovered amazing patterns for each of the tables. I published my method to help other families. I smile when I imagine your son at the kitchen table with his mum in the UK much like Scott and myself when he was in the 3rd grade. Why not eliminate all that agony in learning the tables? Why not a creative, innovative approach that just might instill in your child a love of numbers and fascination with math? Thanks again, Eugenia Francis (the author)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Does Your Negative Attitude Towards Math Influence Your Child?

Saturday, February 27th, 2010

At book fairs, some parents tell me they weren’t particularly good at math.  Some will go even further and say they hated math. Some go even further than that and say, “My daughter’s a dummie in math like me.”  What’s shocking to me is they tell me this with their child standing at their side.

STOP and think what this message conveys to your child:

  • Mom/dad wasn’t good in math so maybe I won’t be either.
  • Mom/dad wasn’t good in math and doesn’t expect me to be good in math either.
  •  I’ll show up mom/dad by if I do well in math.  They won’t like it if I’m smarter.

If you say you hate math, be aware you are shaping your child’s attitude toward math, particularly if you’re a mom speaking to a daughter.  Your daughter loves you and seeks to be just like you.  She may pick up the false message math isn’t for girls.  Now most moms would never say, “I hate reading.  I hate books. I haven’t read a book since high school.”  Yet somehow it’s okay for parents to disparage their math skills. 

If you say your child is a dummie in math like you, you are setting your child up for failure.  Your child may choose not to disappoint you.  Like father, like son?   Like mother, like daughter?

My recommendation:  do not to share your negative math experience with your children but encourage them.  If you feel you must share this experience, frame it this way:

  •  I had trouble with math but you won’t because you have a parent who really cares about your success in math and will help you.
  •  Your teacher also cares about your  success in math and will help you. 
  •  You have resources I didn’t have such as great math books, video tutorials, multiplication CDs and math video games.

My point is:  your negative experience stays with you.  Although you had a negative experience, you expect your child to have a positive experience.  You expect your child to succeed in math.  Your child will fulfill these expectations.  There are few parents who do not have the basic skills to make sure their 3rd grade child succeeds in math.  The formula for success is the following:

     Parent’s  POSITIVE expectations  + HELP for child =  SUCCESS

This formula works for any subject matter: English, reading, science, etc.  So think about what message you’re imparting to your child.  Separate your negative experience from your child and make clear that your child will succeed.  Your child deserves no less.

Book recommendation: EZ Times Tables by Tom Biesanz

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

                         Tom Biesanz,  a formez-times-tableser math teacher in Santa Barbara, contacted me soon after publication of my workbook and told me  he’d posted the following review on Amazon:

[Teach Your Child the Multiplication Tables]  is a big book full of fun pattern and number exercises for kids that make learning fun. I thought about creating a book of worksheets to go with my EZ Times Table book, but this book does such a great job, I would rather just recommend this one.

We chatted on the phone about our interest in teaching the times tables through patterns, which we both believe is a much better way of teaching multiplication. Fun to hear from someone who shared my passion! Tom sent me a copy of his book and I posted the following review on Amazon:

Learning the times tables becomes a game as children learn fun patterns while filling in the EZ TIMES TABLES charts. Instead of leaning one math fact at a time (which is not only difficult but highly inefficient), children learn a pattern for the entire table. Table by table, they construct a times tables matrix for tables 1-10. Pattern play develops number sense. EZ TIMES TABLES will intrigue your child.

If you child has become fascinated by pattern play, check out this excellent resource.  Why not have our children and students discover the magic of math at an early age?  If your third grader is intrigued with math and pursues this passion, just think of the great careers open your child.