Posts Tagged ‘Teach Your Child the Multiplication Tables’

Marketing for Small Businesses: A good press release can make all the difference

Monday, April 19th, 2010

Last week I was quoted in this blog:…/small-business-shoulda-coulda-wouldas.html  on marketing strategies for small businesses.

Eugenia Francis ( wishes she had learned the value of press releases sooner. “A well written press release is a good investment. ‘Times Tables, the Key to Your Child’s Success?’ (which I wrote) was blasted over the internet. Not only has [the press release] appeared in several languages, but [it] was reprinted in EDUCATION MATTERS, a periodical for teachers. I should’ve done this earlier,” says Ms Francis.

Press releases are important, and with so many free and low-cost press release distribution services online, it is possible for even a small business to develop a strong marketing campaign that includes press releases. Just know that to see tremendous return on your investment – like anything in life – it’s not just quantity, it’s quality. Send out press releases often, but you have to have a great story to tell before you decide to send out a press release.

And don’t do any new marketing strategy unless you can evaluate its effectiveness and your ROI (return on investment). Ms. Francis suggests adding coupons to your newspaper ads. “Advertising in magazines [and newspapers] is expensive. Every quarter, the ad exec would beg me to renew my ad. I decided to include a coupon in the ad. When not one coupon was redeemed, I dropped my ad. My advice: include a coupon in your ads to see if indeed you are reaching/persuading customers.”…/small-business-shoulda-coulda-wouldas.html

Jaime Escalante’s Legacy — Why wasn’t innovation rewarded?

Friday, April 2nd, 2010
Edward James Olmos and Jaime Escalanate

Edward James Olmos and Jaime Escalanate


Many of you saw the 1988 film, Stand and Deliver, starring Edward James Olmos as Jaime Escalante, a math teacher at Garfield High School, located in predominantly Hispanic  East Los Angeles.

If you haven’t seen the film, rent it on DVD.  It’s worth watching because of the myth it shatters:  poor, inner-city kids can not excel in advanced math.

At the peak of Escalante’s career, Garfield produced more students who passed Advanced Placement calculus than Beverly Hills High.  Because of this and some similarities in the errors they made on the AP exam, the Educational Testing Service questioned their scores.  Outraged by the implication of cheating, Escalante believed his students were being singled out because of their racial and economic status .  The students agreed to retake the test at the end of the summer, months after their last class.  The students all passed and their original scores were reinstated.

How did Jaime Escalante achieve this extraordinary success?  He did it through innovavtive teaching techniques, using used props and razor-sharp humor to illustrate abstract concepts of math, believing all his students could master these.  He demystified the notion that higher math was inaccessible to his students.  He made his students believe they could do it.  “Calculus does not have to be made easy,” he would say.  “It already is.”  He conveyed the necessity of math in everyday lives to students who aspired to more than the menial jobs held by immigrant parents.  Escalante was able to transform even the most defiant, unruly teens into motivated students.

Another film on Escalante would be worth making.  This one would document what happened to Escalante after his phenomenal success.   His success was resented.  While the teachers union contract limited class size to 35, his often had 50 as he would not turn a student away.   This weakened the union’s bargaining position, so it turned against him.  By 1990, Escalante had been removed as chair of the math department.  A year later,  he returned to his native Bolivia.  Garfield’s math program fell into a decline.

The best tribute we can offer Jaime Escalante is to understand why our education system failed him.   Why wasn’t his success copied and disseminated throughout our school system?  We can and must do better for our children.  Innovation must be rewarded.

“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,  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.

Tablas de Multiplicar Multiplican Oportunidades para Sus Hijos

Sunday, March 7th, 2010


¿Cuándo perdió interés en las matemáticas?  ¿Nunca tuvo interés?  Tal vez, pero Eugenia Francis sabe cuando ocurrió con su hijo.  Fue el momento que todo niño enfrenta:  aprender por memoria las tablas de multiplicar.


Memorizar tabla por tabla fue una labor tediosa para su hijo. Eugenia decidió buscar un método más eficaz.  ¿Por qué no aprender cada tabla en contexto de las otras tablas y así entender la propiedad comutativa  (4 x 6 = 6 x 4) de las tablas?  Ella dibujó una matrícula para tablas 1-10.  Pronto descubrió patrones que descifró con su hijo.  Los misterios de las tablas se revelaron en una exploración diaria de la “magia” nunca discutida en la clase de tercer grado.  “Patrones hicieron a mi hijo sonreir,” dice Eugenia.  “Podía ver la estructura y supo que acertó la tabla.”


Nacida en México, Eugenia fue maestra de español e inglés en la Universidad de California Irvine.  “Patrones en literatura o matemáticas,” dice ella, “revelan la estructura fundamental.  Hay una simplicidad inherente en ellas, una belleza inherente.  Las matemáticas deben estimular la imaginación.” 


En casa, Eugenia aplicó sus habilidades pedagógicas a las tablas.  ¿Por qué no aprender las tablas en orden de dificultad?  Las tablas 2, 4, 6 y 8 son fáciles a aprender porque terminan en números pares: 2-4-6-8-0.  ¿Por qué no un método más creativo?  Así originó Teach Your Child the Multiplication Tables, Fast, Fun & Easy y la edición en español, Enseñe a Su Hijo las Tablas de Multiplicar, Método Fácil, Rápido y Divertido (en Amazon y


Fáciles de recordar, patrones facilitan el aprendizaje.  California Homeschool News reporta:  “Mi hija piensa que [el libro] es muy entretenido.  Ella tuvo varios momentos “ah-ha” al reconocer y predecir los patrones.”   Patrones ayudan la memoria.  “Niños con TDAH, dislexia y autismo tienen éxito con mi método,” dice Eugenia. Aprender a reconocer patrones desarolla la habilidad analítica del estudiante. 


Padres y maestros deben asegurar que sus hijos o estudiantes aprendan las tablas.  “Sin las tablas, su hijo está perdido,” dice Eugenia.  El estudiante que no ha dominado las tablas tendrá dificultad avanzar en las matemáticas más allá del tercer grado. Una reciente editorial en The Los Angeles Times observó que reprobar Algebra I es “el obstáculo más grande para obtener la diploma de secundaria” y la falta de dominar las tablas es una de las principales razones.


Según una encuesta de maestros de Algebra I en California, el 30% de sus estudiantes no dominan las tablas.  No es asombrante entonces que en habilidad matemática, los estudiantes estaunidenses de quince años ocupan un bajo rango entre las naciones industrializadas.  “Tenemos una de los más altos porcentajes de estudiantes que abandonan secundaria en el mundo industrializado,” indicó Bill Gates.  “Si continuamos con el sistema que tenemos, millones de niños nunca tendrán la oportunidad de cumplir su promesa.  Esto es ofensivo a nuestros valores.”


Maestros deben innovar y presentar la magia de las matemáticas en la clase.  Padres también deben cumplir con su obligación.  “Padres tienen una gran influencia sobre un hijo en el tercer or cuarto grado,” dice Eugenia.  “En secundaria puede ser demasiado tarde.  ¿Por qué no tomar la oportunidad de enseñar las tablas de multiplicar para darle a su hijo o hija una ventaja en las matemáticas y al mismo tiempo desarrollar las habilidades analíticas necesarias para el álgebra?  Dominio de las tablas de multiplicar es esencial para el futuro de su hijo o hija.”


Eugenia publicó su cuaderno de ejercicios para ayudar a otras familias.  “Si nosotros hicieramos para hijos ajenos lo que hacemos para nuestros hijos, aseguraríamos el futuro de todos nuestros hijos.”



                                 Datos sobre Eugenia Francis


Nacida en México, Eugenia Francis fue maestra de español e inglés en la Universidad de California Irvine.  Cuando su hijo encontró memorizar las tablas de multiplicar una labor tediosa, ella inventó su propio método – un método fácil, rápido y divertido.  Enseñe a Su Hijo las Tablas de Multiplicar y la edición en inglés, Teach Your Child the Multiplication Tables, se venden en Amazon y en