Multiplication Tables - Gone? - Mothering Forums

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Old 07-25-2007, 09:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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DD just finished grade 3, and they learned multiplication... but they didn't memorize the "times tables" the way they did when I was in school.

Is this a thing of the past? I just can't fathom that this won't be a problem in the future... Are we really creating a generation of people who will have to sit and think and count on their fingers to figure out that 6 x 7 = 42? Or, I guess they'll use the calculator on their phone... :

I'm thinking of making some flashcards. Am I out of touch?

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Old 07-25-2007, 09:53 PM
 
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I taught 6th grade last year and I had several students who didn't know all of their times tables. I would assign them sometimes for misbehavior. I figure it gives them something they don't like to do, but also teaches them something, hopefully.

Flash cards never helped me, personally. IMO, they only work if you know the facts already and are just practicing for speed. Writing or saying them (or both) helped them 'stick' better. Also, finding the patterns helps.

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Old 07-25-2007, 10:32 PM
 
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Teach them to your dd this summer.

A few years ago when I substitute taught, the kids in the middle school math class couldn't do basic operations (6x7) without calculators. Scary.
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Old 07-25-2007, 11:00 PM
 
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Ugh.. Please do your daughter a favor and teach her multiplication tables... As a 6th grade math teacher, I can't tell you how frustrating it is to have kids spending time counting by 6 to get to 42 :

I took classroom time to do it in middle school, and I personally think it is a ridiculous thing to have to do. They should have learned it in 3rd grade, right after they learned what multiplication means and how it works.

This should not be happening!

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Old 07-26-2007, 09:14 AM
 
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another teacher here

Please make her learn them! The argument for not teaching them at my school is that we have so much content to teach that we shouldn't "waste time" on memorization. They ask parents to work on them at home. All future math builds on this! Argh. Pet peeve, can you tell?
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Old 07-26-2007, 05:01 PM
 
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We hear the same thing, but some things just NEED to be memorized.

Michelle -mom to Katlyn 4/00 , Jake 3/02, and Seth 5/04
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Old 07-26-2007, 09:12 PM
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This is SAD, very sad indeed!!!
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Old 07-26-2007, 09:28 PM
 
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My kids do learn multiplication tables. They present it a little differently than they did when I was a kid, but they are still expected to know the math facts.

I would teach her. Dh and I are both in education and I think the idea that there is intrinsically something evil about memorization is nonsense.
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Old 07-26-2007, 09:37 PM
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My kids do learn multiplication tables. They present it a little differently than they did when I was a kid, but they are still expected to know the math facts.

I would teach her. Dh and I are both in education and I think the idea that there is intrinsically something evil about memorization is nonsense.
Sorry to crash the Learning at School forum to say this, but it's one reason we didn't want to send our DD to school -- I'm a school teacher too, and I believe in the virtues of memorization, but at the same time, teachers get pressured all the time to teach "higher-level thinking skills" without realizing that without those LOWER-level thinking skills (like memorization) having been mastered, it's like building a house from the roof down and expecting it to stand.

Ironically or not, one day last year, I was teaching my junior literature class and we somehow got into a discussion -- probably about a test grade -- about percentages. Out came the calculators. I basically said, "Oh, puh-LEEZE. You're kiddin' me -- you all need to whip out the plastic to figure out ten percent of a given number? Just move the decimal!"

A host of blank expressions looked up at me and I realized I had basically said *insert Charlie Brown teacher voice here* "Wadda wa wa wadda wadda wa."

I had to show them the trick of taking 10% by moving Mr. Decimal Point one space to the left. They'd never heard of it. One girl said, "Oh, I'm writing this down! This is so much easier than the way we learned it."

Go figure -- an English teacher shows how math works. EASY math. To JUNIORS. What's going on?
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Old 07-27-2007, 12:24 AM
 
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The lack of knowledge of basic math is a problem IMO. As a high school teacher, I have had many, many students who cannot perform basic math such as multiplication and operations with fractions and decimals. The ed schools are currently advocating for teachers to avoid the "drill and kill" approach, but students sometimes need to learn basic procedures for solving types of problems. This requires practice.
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Old 07-27-2007, 12:27 AM
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My reply was also longer in its original form,...but I decided against the bashing of the modern day school system due to so many teachers being on here.

I think it is sad, why are the parents expected to teach their kids basic maths skills? They have to work as well!
What are families supposed to do when both parents have to work full time jobs, come home at 5pm, cook, do the homework with their children and in addition teach them maths?
They should be having some family time together for a couple hours at least, instead of stressing with an extra workload. What do the schools think when they are giving the families additional work loads that the schools should be doing,....or they are maybe too busy preparing for the next sports event.
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Old 07-27-2007, 10:44 AM
 
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Well, dh and I work full time, too. I don't have any problem at all with supplementing and reinforcing my kids' education at home. My parents did it with me, back when the earth was cooling. I view it as a perfectly normal part of parenting.
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Old 07-27-2007, 12:22 PM
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What are families supposed to do when both parents have to work full time jobs, come home at 5pm, cook, do the homework with their children and in addition teach them maths?
.
No kidding! Isn't one of the virtues of school supposed to be that they teach children the fundamental bases of the knowledge they will use? Isn't the role of the parent supposed to be to reinforce those knowledge bases, provide support and time in which homework can be done, work as a partner with their child's teacher, et cetera, but not have to be compelled to fill in a crucial gap the school is not addressing?

SO not fair.
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Old 07-27-2007, 12:36 PM
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Well, dh and I work full time, too. I don't have any problem at all with supplementing and reinforcing my kids' education at home. My parents did it with me, back when the earth was cooling. I view it as a perfectly normal part of parenting.
Okay, I already stated my biases up front previously, so please take that into consideration.:

That said, though, don't you think there's a crucial difference between "supplementing and reinforcing" your kids' education at home and having to teach them a fundamental concept the school is not addressing?

For example, I think we'd all agree that it's totally reasonable to help your child with his or her English homework, let's say -- reasonable to provide insight or clarify an ambiguous direction or to give additional examples. However, isn't it one thing to say, "Well, Jimmy, where do you think the verb in this sentence is?" and another thing altogether to have to teach the parts of speech because your child's school decides that's not a skill they need?
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Old 07-27-2007, 12:49 PM
 
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I'm all for involving parents in their own kids education, but if a kid who spent a year in third grade doesn't even know math facts, then what in the world were we teaching your child?!?
Unless I'm homeschooling, I should expect the school will cover the basics.

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Old 07-27-2007, 02:10 PM
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Okay, I already stated my biases up front previously, so please take that into consideration.:

That said, though, don't you think there's a crucial difference between "supplementing and reinforcing" your kids' education at home and having to teach them a fundamental concept the school is not addressing?

For example, I think we'd all agree that it's totally reasonable to help your child with his or her English homework, let's say -- reasonable to provide insight or clarify an ambiguous direction or to give additional examples. However, isn't it one thing to say, "Well, Jimmy, where do you think the verb in this sentence is?" and another thing altogether to have to teach the parts of speech because your child's school decides that's not a skill they need?

That is exactly my point Meg Murry!
I bet some parents would like to have some fun with their children as well, besides only working with them, not that working with them can not be fun as well,....but you get my point.
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Old 08-01-2007, 10:24 AM
 
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A few years ago when I substitute taught, the kids in the middle school math class couldn't do basic operations (6x7) without calculators. Scary.
I used to teach accounting at a technical college and I was horrified at the vast number of students who could not calculate percentages at all, could not add two 2-digit numbers without whipping out a calculator, didn't know what a numerator/denominator was, etc.

It was frustrating to me to have to spend time educating them about math fundamentals when we had a short amount of time to cover the accounting material to begin with.
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Old 08-01-2007, 01:44 PM
 
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I used to teach accounting at a technical college and I was horrified at the vast number of students who could not calculate percentages at all, could not add two 2-digit numbers without whipping out a calculator, didn't know what a numerator/denominator was, etc.
We're homeschoolers who switched from one Asian style math program to another between first and second grade. One of these teaches mental addition of 2-digit numbers (including regrouping and sums >100) in first grade, the other in second. However, even when I look back on my own education, I don't recall ever being taught mental math techniques. Thankfully, I managed to pick up a few on my own.

And now on-topic. Something that really helped DD1 with her times tables was a Learning Wrap-up. They're available a bit cheaper elsewhere; this is just the first picture I found.
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Old 08-01-2007, 02:40 PM
 
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I would definitely teach the multiplication tables to your kid(s) on your own! It's been a while, so I may be remembering this wrong, but I believe that on the AP Calculus tests, they have a non-calculator section. So if your kid ends up doing those tests, wouldn't it be sad if they failed because they couldn't do the simple math fast enough? I don't mean to imply that's the only reason for learning the multiplication tables - it's just one of a million!
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Old 08-02-2007, 03:37 AM
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I had to teach my dd to memorize the multiplication facts. And yes, flashcards really helped. I also got a multiplication card-game that she liked.

"Our task is not to see the future, but to enable it."
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Old 08-02-2007, 03:23 PM
 
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Have you guys seen Wrap-ups? They are our car toys. My kids love them.
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Old 08-04-2007, 11:23 PM
 
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Ugh.. Please do your daughter a favor and teach her multiplication tables... As a 6th grade math teacher, I can't tell you how frustrating it is to have kids spending time counting by 6 to get to 42 :

I took classroom time to do it in middle school, and I personally think it is a ridiculous thing to have to do. They should have learned it in 3rd grade, right after they learned what multiplication means and how it works.

This should not be happening!
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another teacher here

Please make her learn them! The argument for not teaching them at my school is that we have so much content to teach that we shouldn't "waste time" on memorization. They ask parents to work on them at home. All future math builds on this! Argh. Pet peeve, can you tell?
I have never ever been able to memorize my multiplication tables. Oh sure I MIGHT have been able to manage it for a test.. then it just fell out of my head later. I can't spell either. Same thing.
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Old 08-05-2007, 02:43 AM
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I have never ever been able to memorize my multiplication tables. Oh sure I MIGHT have been able to manage it for a test.. then it just fell out of my head later. I can't spell either. Same thing.
I love the Schoolhouse Rock songs for memorizing many of them, especially the 3 song, the 5 song, and the 8 song.

For other numbers, there are a few helpful ones:

The Sixes Song (Sung to the tune of "Home on the Range"

Six times one is six,
Six times two is twelve
Six times three, I know is eighteen.

Six times four's twenty-four
Six times five is thir-ty
Six times six is thirty-six.

Six sixes are true,
Six times seven I know's forty-two.
Six times eight's forty-eight
Six times nine's fifty-four
Why didn't I know that before?

************
Here is another song for the sevens, sung to the tune of "She'll Be Comin' Round the Mountain."

Seven, fourteen, twenty-one, and twenty-eight
Thirty-five and forty-two, it's really great.

Forty-nine and fifty-six
This is how I get my kicks,

Sixty-three and seventy,
That's all for me.


Enjoy!
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Old 08-06-2007, 10:41 PM
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No kidding! Isn't one of the virtues of school supposed to be that they teach children the fundamental bases of the knowledge they will use? Isn't the role of the parent supposed to be to reinforce those knowledge bases, provide support and time in which homework can be done, work as a partner with their child's teacher, et cetera, but not have to be compelled to fill in a crucial gap the school is not addressing?

SO not fair.
Well, whatever. I figure a teacher's competitive advantage is going to be in teaching concepts and getting a kid to really understand how, as in this example, math WORKS. If you'd rather they skimp on concepts in favor of spending time on rote memorization, so that you can get out of any teaching function at home ... I guess that's OK for you. But don't complain when your kid ends up not really understanding the concepts behind the basic facts he or she has memorized.

School time is finite. So is parent time - but it's a lot easier to coach a kid through a bit of rote memorization than it is to get them to learn the concepts underpinning arithmatic (and higher level maths as well, of course).
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Old 08-08-2007, 01:03 PM
 
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I taught 3rd grade last year and my class absolutely works on memorizing their times tables. OP, does your school use Everyday Math? That program would does not teach basic facts seperately from other skills. (Which is why I'm glad I don't have to use it!) But no, times tables are NOT a thing of the past. They are still important!
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Old 08-08-2007, 10:44 PM
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Well, whatever. I figure a teacher's competitive advantage is going to be in teaching concepts and getting a kid to really understand how, as in this example, math WORKS. If you'd rather they skimp on concepts in favor of spending time on rote memorization, so that you can get out of any teaching function at home ... I guess that's OK for you. But don't complain when your kid ends up not really understanding the concepts behind the basic facts he or she has memorized.

School time is finite. So is parent time - but it's a lot easier to coach a kid through a bit of rote memorization than it is to get them to learn the concepts underpinning arithmatic (and higher level maths as well, of course).
The problem is not in teaching how math works.
The problem is far more complex than that.

Part of the problem is that far too many math teachers, especially at the elementary level, do NOT understand "how math works" and therefore aren't particularly adept at teaching what they don't particularly understand.

Since many of them also now do not teach rote memorization, we now have far too many students who don't know either how math works or their multiplication tables.

Also, allow me to point out that what you're arguing is a false dichotomy: an effective math teacher CAN do both the logical understanding of an algorithmic function AND the times tables. As it stands, far too many teachers are doing neither one.
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Old 08-11-2007, 05:13 PM
 
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If you'd rather they skimp on concepts in favor of spending time on rote memorization, so that you can get out of any teaching function at home ... I guess that's OK for you.
Extremes have never lasted... Nor will math instruction that skips importance of basics. If such program is to be successful, it will have to be supplemented by another program that brings the basics back into the classroom, otherwise US will never climb out of embarassing mathophobia. (speaking from the outsider's perspective).

ROTE memory must be accompanied by UNDERSTANDING. If you are skipping on one or the other - I don't want my kid in your classroom. Whatever you teach my kid - teach them well... How about exploring one concept at a time until they have learned all there is about it, instead of jumping around, and "covering" material without really sinking in the teeth into it? True understanding of multiplication and division from every angle should be main topic in third grade calssroom. It's life, it's what they will use, and it includes memorizing the tables. There is plently of time for that (unless, of course you are trying to cover 50 other concepts that I will be reteaching them in 6th grade anyway, because they dont' remember any of it).


Teaching how math works does not mean skipping multiplication tables.

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School time is finite. So is parent time - but it's a lot easier to coach a kid through a bit of rote memorization than it is to get them to learn the concepts underpinning arithmatic (and higher level maths as well, of course).
Basics should be taught at school. Not all parents are involved parents, not all parents will have time and skills to do it.

What are you doing in third grade if not leaning what multiplication and division is, and covering the basics within these concepts????

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Old 08-11-2007, 05:16 PM
 
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Part of the problem is that far too many math teachers, especially at the elementary level, do NOT understand "how math works" and therefore aren't particularly adept at teaching what they don't particularly understand.

Since many of them also now do not teach rote memorization, we now have far too many students who don't know either how math works or their multiplication tables.
:
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Also, allow me to point out that what you're arguing is a false dichotomy: an effective math teacher CAN do both the logical understanding of an algorithmic function AND the times tables. As it stands, far too many teachers are doing neither one.

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Old 08-11-2007, 05:19 PM
 
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I have never ever been able to memorize my multiplication tables. Oh sure I MIGHT have been able to manage it for a test.. then it just fell out of my head later. I can't spell either. Same thing.
I hope you are not suggesting that just because you struggle with spelling we should stop teaching kids how to write well, and to spell correctly?

Same goes for math... I respect people who struggle, but I don't understand the argument "I wasn't able to, so who cares if the rest of the kids are taught math facts..."

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Old 08-11-2007, 05:37 PM
 
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I hope you are not suggesting that just because you struggle with spelling we should stop teaching kids how to write well, and to spell correctly?

Same goes for math... I respect people who struggle, but I don't understand the argument "I wasn't able to, so who cares if the rest of the kids are taught math facts..."
Uhhhh.. I never said or implied any such thing.

I am saying that simply making kids memorize things will not have a lasting effect. You have to teach them how to do it. I was never taught any spelling rules or tricks. We were simply given words, told the write them 5x each and were expected to be able to spell them at the end of the week. Memorizing them only worked until the next list came along.

Same with math. Memorizing the times tables in third and fourth grade does not have a lasting effect on anyone I have ever meet. It is far more important that the kids know why 3X3=9 and how to get there than to simply spit out that 3X3=9.
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