Posts Tagged ‘Teach Your Child the Multiplication Tables’

Interview on Homeschooling 101 Blog Talk Radio

Friday, May 14th, 2010


I just came across an interview I did on Homeschooling 101 Blog Talk Radio.  In the interview, I discuss how I developed my method, discovering patterns for each of the tables.  I also discuss the benefits of my method for children with special needs.


The link is:


School Choice Reform? Now is the time.

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

Yesterday, I read an excellent article, “Pennsylvania Kids Deserve School Choice,” in The Wall Street Journal.  Written by Anthony Hardy Williams, an African-American legislator in Pennsylvania, who is running for governor, the article appeared on the op-ed page of the Journal. 

Mr. Williams argues President Obama’s $4.35 billion Race to the Top program will not improve public education in and of itself. Should Pennsylvania be awarded a $400 million grant, Mr. Williams states this amount would represent “less than half of 1% of the $23 billion spent annually” in Pennsylvania’s public school system, a paltry “$56 more per child.” 

Believing competition among schools improves the quality of education, Mr. Williams advocates school choice.  School choice would allow not only public schools but charter, magnet, private and vocational schools to compete for “a piece of the $23 billion” spent annually in Pennsylvania’s public school system.

Some might wonder whether school choice is in fact a legitimate option. According to Mr. Williams, the Supreme Court ruled in the 2002 case of Zelman v. Simmons-Harris that school-choice programs are constitutional.  This ruling by the court has “the potential to fulfill the promise of Brown v. the Board of Education and bring true equality to education.”  However, there are those who oppose school choice.  The teachers union argues that what ails the public schools, particularly those in the inner-city, isn’t lack of competition but rather adequate funding. “This is a myth,” Mr. Williams says.

Apparently, Pennsylvania spends an average of $16,462 per student.  Yet if a private or charter school were to spend this amount on a student and not produce results, parents would remove their child from the school and that school would ultimately fail.  “But parents don’t have the option of withdrawing a child from a failing public school,” Mr. Williams explains.  “Today’s system permits failing schools to continue, penalizing less fortunate children.” 

In Mr. Williams’ case, his mother, a public school teacher, alarmed by the unsafe neighborhoods her son traveled through on his way to school, saw to it that he got a scholarship to a private school.  

Parents should have the right to choose the best school for their child.  How can we call ourselves a free country when we deny parents this fundamental right?  Yet our legislators in D.C. including President Obama send their children to private schools.  Indeed, would Mr. Obama be president had he not attended the prestigious Punahou school in Hawaii?  Would he have received the same quality education in Hawaii’s public schools?  His mother like Mr. Williams’ chose to opt out of public education for her son.

Many African-American mothers email me, telling me they opted to homeschool rather than send their children to these failing inner-city schools.  If we do not give parents school choice, the achievement gap will continue to widen.

Were I living in Pennsylvania, Mr. Williams would have my vote. Anthony Hardy Williams should be applauded for his courageous stance.  In several television interviews, I’ve heard Geoffrey Canada support school choice.  Bravo to both men for supporting families and defending their right to choose the best school for their child.  Education should be about the children.

To read the article in full, google “Pennsylvania Kids Deserve School Choice at The Wall Street Journal.”

Multiplying by Eleven? Discover Fun, Easy Patterns!

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010


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.

Book Recommendation: APPLE FRACTIONS by Jerry Pallotta

Monday, May 3rd, 2010


 Who knew a book about ablogphotos5pples and math could be so engaging? In Apple Fractions, author Jerry Pallotta and illustrator Rob Bolster teach children all about fractions and all about apples.  Tiny elves, smaller than the apples themselves, use saws and ladders and ropes and mallets to divide McIntosh, Golden Delicious, Granny Smiths, Red Delicious, Gala and Cortland apples into halves, thirds, fourths and more.  Children will enjoy seeing the tiny elves toil away and at last make cider, apple juice and apple pie. The text is well-written and the illustrations delightful.  Your child will learn the underlying concept of  how the whole can be divided evenly into increasingly smaller pieces we call fractions.   A terrific picture book!

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!

Tips on Teaching Your Child Vocabulary

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

I’ve been tutoring a sixth grade student in math.  Last week, he asked for help with a list of vocabulary words  for his English class.

For vocabulary lists, it is easier to remember words when you classify them by parts of speech.  I divided a legal pad in three columns, a column each for adjectives, nouns and verbs.  We took each word and put it in the proper column.  Sometimes a word was both a noun and a verb such as signal or a verb and an adjective such as lavish.       

We combined these words  into sentences, trying to use as many words from the list in one sentence.  Then we  “personalized” the words by using them in a familiar context such as:  “The liquid ambers in the garden look luminous.”  It’s spring and with the sun shining on the leaves, the trees indeed looked luminous, full of light.   

It was also helpful to find out about the origin of the word, the root word.  Luminous comes from lum , meaning light.  Other words in this family are:  luster, illuminate, and translucent

I recommend parents have on hand Instant Vocabulary by Ida Ehrlich.  Did you know secretary literally means “one entrusted with secrets”?   Secret means “a thing apart, hidden.”  The root SE means “apart, aside, without.”   Other words in this family are seclude, secure (to set aside carefully, to protect), secede,  sequestration, select, segregate and separate.  See how much easier it is to “decode” the meaning when you know the root word?

As a parent you are your child’s teacher, a hometeacher.  Always be learning.  Share what you learn with your children.  Communicate to them your passion for learning. Remember you are your child’s first and primary teacher.  Education starts at home.

Create Your Own Problem to Solve a More Difficult One?

Friday, April 23rd, 2010

Recently, I was asked to tutor a sixth grader in math. The math worksheets included introductory algebra as well as problems on mean, mode and median.  It was interesting to me to work with this student and see how he solved the problems.

One particular problem stumped him:  the problem asked for a missing bowling score.  Five scores were given as well as the  mean for six.  What I did was have Paul create his own similar problem.   I asked him to substitute small numbers for each score and supply his own number for the “unknown.”  Thus he already knew the answer and solved the problem by working backwards.  He calculated the mean for the six games and figured out the “missing” score. 

Have your child do this with any word problem.  This strategy will boost your child’s confidence in his/her math abilities.  When presented with a difficult problem, substitute your own problem and supply the “missing factor.”  You know the answer, so the problem is now easy to solve.  It’s now easy to translate the more difficult  problem into the “language of algebra” and solve.

¿Trucos para las tablas de multiplicar? En realidad, patrones fáciles a recordar.

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010


Tal vez usted aprendió el truco de la tabla 9 en primaria.  Si no, empiece por poner ambas manos delante de usted.  Para 2 x 9, doble el dedo anular de su mano izquierda. Esto dedo representa  2. A la  izquierda de este dedo, está un dedo, representando el 1.  A la derecha de este dedo estan los restante 8 dedos, representando 8.  Así tenemos: 18.  Para 3 por 9, doble el tercer dedo de su mano izquierda.  A la izquierda de este dedo, verá 2 dedos y a la derecha 7 para 27. !Qué fácil es!


Otra manera de aprender la tabla 9 es numerar 9 a 0 en una columna y 0 a 9 a la izquierda de esta columna. Estas columnas resultan en: 09, 18, 27, 36, 45, 54, 63, 72, 81 y 90. ¡Qué fácil! Este “truco” es realmente un patrón fácil. En mi libro de ejercicios, Enseñe a Su Hijo Las Tablas de Multiplicar, presento patrones fáciles para tablas 1 a 10.


Patrones como el truco de la tabla 9 nos ayudan a aprender y recordar las tablas. Todos los niños y en especial los niños con dislexia, autismo o TDAH aprenden las tablas con mayor facilidad cuando se le presentan patrones fáciles para cada tabla.  Nuestros cerebros están diseñados para decifrar y reconocer patrones. Si alguien le dijera que su número de teléfono es 214-314-4114, puede ser que incluso no tenga necesidad de anotarlo.


Nuestro cerebro clasifica y organiza por instinto. ¿Por qué no utilizar esta capacidad mental para aprender las tablas? La memorización tradicional de tabla por tabla (3 por 1 son 3, 3 por 2 son 6, etc) es una labor tedia.  Así lo fue para mi hijo. Por éso, desarrollé un método innovador para enseñarlo.


Si todos los niños no sólo dominaran las tablas en el tercer gradro pero fueran fascinados por las matemáticas, tendriamos estudiantes sobresalientes en primaria y secundaria. Sin las tablas, sus hijos o estudiantes no pueden avanzar en las matemáticas.  Frustrados y sin amor propio, estos estudinates abandonan secundaria sin graduarse.  El costo a la sociedad es grave.


Padres y maestros, en el tercer grado tienen gran influencia. Asegúrense que sus hijos sepan leer y escribir y sepan sus tablas de multiplicar.  Preparen sus hijos o estudiantes para triunfar.

Writing to Right Wrongs?

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

The other day I met a musician/screenwriter who told me his screenplays was about a traumatic events in his youth.   “You’re writing to right wrongs,” I said to him.  He blinked with surprise.  “Precisely,” he said.

When you think about it, most of our writing is about righting wrongs.  Do we dash off a quick note to an airline company when we’ve had a terrific flight?  Never.  But what do we do when the airline loses our luggage?  We sit down and write a letter or email.  I believe the impulse to right wrongs also motivates us when we write fiction.  We want to expose those wrongs.  By doing so, we seek some resolution.  Perhaps just writing them is the catharsis we seek.  When I examine my own fiction (my novel is currently in the hands of an agent), I see that in some measure I too want to write/right wrongs.  I want my characters to triumph over these.

In terms of my multiplication workbook, I could also say that I’m writing to right wrongs.  In my view, it is wrong to subject children to drill upon drill to memorize the tables.  Yes, children will learn the tables through rote memorization.  After all, most of us learned the tables this way. I did.  But why torture children when they can learn the tables through a fun, playful way?  My son loved my method.  So my impulse in writing my workbook was to “right a wrong” and share my method with others.

Tricks to the Multiplication Tables

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

You may have learned the Trick to the 9’s on your fingers when you were a child.   For example for 2 x 9, hold out both hands in front of you and bend the ring finger of your left hand.  This bent finger represents 2.  Look at the remaining fingers and you’ll see 1 for the finger to the left of the bent joint and 8  for the eight fingers remaining for 18.  For 3 times 9, you’ll bend the middle finger on your left hand and have 2 fingers on the left and 7 remaining for 27.  It’s easy and fun!

Another way of learning table 9 is to number 9 to 0 in a column and 0 to 9 to the left of the column.  You’ll end up with: 09, 18, 27, 36, 45, 54, 63, 72, 81 and 90.  Now how easy is that!

This “trick” is really a fun easy pattern.  So the trick in this case is a mnemonic device to help us remember.  Sometimes these mnemonic devices have fun rhymes such as “Thirty days has September . . .”

In my workbook, Teach Your Child the Multiplication Tables, Fast, Fun & Easy, I present easy number patterns for all the tables.  Patterns like the Trick of the 9’s aid memory.  Special needs children such as those with dyslexia, autism of ADD/HD benefit from patterns.  All children do.  Patterns provide structure. 

Our brains are wired to find patterns.  If someone were to tell you their phone number was 214-314-4114, you might not even have to write it down.  Why?  You’d recognize the pattern.  Our brain instinctively sorts and organizes.  So why not have your child use this brain function when learning the times tables?  Rote memorization is tedious and boring.  My son hated rote memorization!  So I developed an innovative way of teaching him. 

If all children could be engaged by numbers in the third grade, really fascinated by math, we’d have students who love math.  Students who love math are more likely to have positive self-esteem.  They are more likely to do well in other disciplines and succeed in school.  Wouldn’t that be something!