Archive for July, 2009

Multiplication Mountain CD

Friday, July 31st, 2009



Just came across a delightful CD — Multiplication Mountain which includes some wonderful musical patterns such as Waltzing Through The Threes!  Music, rhythm and rhyme make learning fun.  The words and music are by Hap Palmer.  It’s foot-stompin’ fun!  The CD can be found on

Review of my workbook on Parent Reviewers

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

This morning, I was delighted to see the following review of   my Teach Your Child Multiplication Tables  workbook on

Growing up, I was never really good at Maths. Until, I had the benefit of getting to know an excellent Maths teacher, who showed me the good side of Maths. It was astounding. I never thought Maths could be so interesting and from then on, each time I found a pattern or a sequence, Maths got easier and easier. I have to say, by the time I ended High School, the only thing I really excelled in, was Maths (and English ~ but that didn’t count somehow).

Now, as a parent, I have to admit, I really suck at teaching Maths. Perhaps I’m too impatient with my kids and think ahead of myself. The easy stuff like Addition and Subtraction was taught with much frustration, on my part, and much dismay, on my kids’ part.  I dreaded the idea of teaching Multiplication and Division! When the book “Teach Your Child the Multiplication Tables, Fun, Fast and Easy with Dazzling Patterns, Grids and Tricks“, arrived, I looked at the front cover with much skepticism. How “fun” could it be?

I completely forgot how amazing it is, when the brain opens up, finds a pattern and starts working furiously at the numbers. Until this book arrived. My 7 year old saw this book and immediately wanted to work on it. I knew he learnt some multiplications at school, but I wasn’t sure how much.

He attacked the first grid….working all the multiplication numbers from 1 to 10. Just like that. I was amazed. He had read and glossed over the book, (I assumed he was just looking at the pictures) earlier…and when he started doing the numbers, he seemed to understand the underlying patterns under each multiplication.

And here I thought I would have a hard time teaching him the Multiplication!

About : The book starts with a story about a Circus in mayhem. The Ringmaster needs the child’s help in counting his animals, but it would take too long to count them, one by one. One needs the magic of multiplication to help him account for all his animals!

Eugenia Francis created this fun, colorful and imaginative way of working with numbers. She spent 15 years developing creative teaching materials. She taught both high school and university students (University of California at Irvine) and mentored other teachers. She received a B.A. and an M.A. in literature from Southern Methodist University and has done graduate work at UCI. Faced with the challenge of teaching her son the multiplication tables, she developed her own innovative method, discovering patterns and tricks to the multiplication tables.

This book also works very well for children diagnosed with ADD/ADHD. Patterns provide structure.  Children with ADD/ADHD need structure. These children have a difficulty memorizing the times tables.  The visual-spatial method of patterns and grids works better.  Patterns also help dyslexic children as they strictly order number sequence.  Special needs children can better visualize and recall where a number is placed if they see a pattern.  Do check out her blog for any updates or tips!

Visual Learners and Patterns?

Monday, July 27th, 2009

Some children are visual learners.  They must “see” to learn.  For these students, my pattern approach of teaching the times tables works exceptionally well.  Instead of telling children what the pattern is, my workbook teaches children to discover patterns! 

Discovering  patterns makes learning more fun!  Patterns provide a structure that  enhances a child’s  confidence.

Children like that table 8 ends in 8, 6, 4, 2, 0. 

                                                8, 16, 24, 32, 40,

                                                           48, 56, 64, 72, 80

This 8-6-4-2-0 pattern loop  continues to infinity.  Your child is learning Number Theory in the 3rd grade!

Children quickly “get” the pattern so be sure to reinforce the tables by having them repeat, ” 8 x 2 equals 16″ and so on as they fill in the pattern.  Saying these reinforces learning. 

Teaching children the multiplication tables gives parents the opportunity to introduce their children to analytical thinking.

Why not find the similarities and differences between the tables?  Why not learn what happens when you multiply an ODD number times an ODD number?  ODD x ODD = ODD.  How ODD is that?  Not really when you know the rules.  The times tables are fun!

Teaching your child the times tables is the moment to instill in your child a love of numbers and fascination with math!  Math is fun. 

“Mathematics is the science of patterns,” Keith Devlin said.  Once children learns to discover patterns in math, they will be prepared to look for these in literature.  What child doesn’t like repeating rhymes in storybooks, songs and poems?  What child doesn’t like patterns in music?  We are wired to discover patterns!  We are wired to ENJOY patterns!

What does a trillion dollars look like?

Friday, July 17th, 2009

For those of you who haven’t seen this, check out this site.  Apparently, one million dollars fits into a grocery bag.  It is staggering to see what a trillion acutally looks like.  The graphics are amazing, easy for a child to grasp. 

Here’s the link:

Mathematics: the Science of Patterns?

Friday, July 17th, 2009

I came across this quote in Lockhart’s Lament: (                                                                                                                                          “In

In fact, if I had to design a mechanism for the express purpose of
destroying a child’s natural curiosity and love of pattern-making, I
couldn’t possibly do as good a job as is currently being done I simply wouldn’t have the imagination to come up with the kind of senseless, soulcrushing ideas that constitute contemporary mathematics education.” [Paul Lockhart published in 2002]

This quote resonated with me because my intent in my workbook is precisely to engage a “child’s natural curiosity” and “love of pattern-making.” 

Mathematics is the Science of Patterns.  For more on patterns in mathematics, I recommend Keith Devlin’s  Mathematics, the Science of Patterns.  The book’s subtitle is:  the Search for Order in Life, Mind, and the Universe. 



Egg Carton Multiplication

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

This fun activity teaches children the principles of grouping and multiplication. You will need:
A standard egg carton or muffin tin.
Dried beans, M&M’s or other small objects.

Cut off 2 of the egg cups so that you now have 10.
Count out 24 beans and ask your child the divide these in 6 cups so that the same amount is in each cup. When your child sees that 4 are in each cup, state the multiplication problem:   “If we have 6 beans in each of these four cups, how many do we have in all?”  Your child will answer “24”.  Now restate the problem as:  “6 x 4 = 24.”

Now have your child divide these 24 beans into 4 cups. State the problem: “4 x 6 = 24.” Your child is not only learning about grouping but also the commutative property of multiplication, that is, 6 x 4 = 4 x 6. The order of the numbers does not change the result:  6 x 4 = 24 and 4 x 6 = 24. 

Addition is also commutative:  6 + 4 is the same as 4 + 6. The order does not matter:  6 + 4 = 10  and 4 + 6 = 10.   Or 4 + 6 = 6 + 4. 

Now divide these 24 beans into 8 cups. Next divide into 3 cups.  Again repeat the multiplication problem: 8 x 3 = 24 and 3 x 8 = 24.
This fun activity is also teaching your child division as he/she is dividing 24 objects into 8 cups and so on. Your child will see that division is the inverse of multiplication:    24 divided by 8 = 3  and  3 x 8 = 24.

Continue this multiplication activity by counting out 12 beans and dividing in 4 cups etc.  It is probably best to do a few of these a day so the activity remains fun.  Activities such as this develop your child’s number sense.

Your kitchen is the heart of your home. It is also your “science lab” as this is where ingredients such as eggs, flour, sugar, baking powder and vanilla through the “magic of heat” become yummy cakes and cupcakes. Be sure to involve your children while baking.  Not only are they learning about measuring but also combining ingredients in certain proportions. By asking your child to help double your recipe, you reinforce multiplication skills. Your child will see the value of multiplication in every day life.

Learning to follow a recipe also teaches your child about fractions. More on this in another blog.

*Fun Activities for Learning the Times Tables!

Friday, July 3rd, 2009

Thanks to Alexandra Mayzler  of Thinking Caps Turotirng for the following:

Because children who have ADHD are active learners incorporate math drills into activities. For example, create a scavenger hunt where each clue comes with a multiplication drill or play an outdoor game such as red light/green light and have the children calculate basic math facts. It is also important to break up the math review into shorter lessons 15-20 minutes of review but with more frequency. If students can spend 15 minutes playing a multiplication game every day of the week then they will be better able to grasp the material.

Alexandra Mayzler  Thinking  Caps Tutoring Tutoring    New York(