Once students understand the concept of multiplication, for example they have mastered arrays and grouping, many would agree that their future studies in Math will be a lot easier if they have at least some recall of the multiplication tables. There are so many fun ways to practice the multiplication tables, from numerous websites and various tips and tricks. Even so, keeping students motivated to practice at home or at any given opportunity can be difficult.
Therefore, I have resorted to blatant bribery. I got this idea from Tina Clark, a dear friend and colleague who used this in her Grade 3 classroom.
Students can go for a scoop either orally or in written form. They recite or write a decided upon table. I let them decide which one they would like to attempt. Differentiation can be achieved by how many hints you give to those who hesitate on their answers and how many tries you let them have before you tell them they need to practice a bit more. If they display their knowledge of a table to your satisfaction, award them a scoop to be pasted on their cone. Once a student gets 1 to 10, I award them with an ice cream cone. If the entire class gets it, I promise an ice cream party.
I try to set aside about 15 minutes once or twice a week for students to attempt a scoop. Or I add it in as a centre when I have no conferences or assessments that need immediate attention. So far, the students are very excited about it and have maintained their desire to practice their multiplication tables throughout the school year.
ProDivas is a simple sharing approach, teacher to teacher, for our professional development. We collect and share bite-sized practical ideas. Once you take a bite, you may be self-motivated to eat the whole meal! We aim to find ideas supported by research to then apply for “best practice” but some ideas are too good to miss and are just simple “teacher tips”.