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7th grader doesn't know multiplication tables

 
 
Reply Wed 17 Aug, 2005 09:45 am
HELP - my 7th grader does not know all of his multiplication tables.
He is failing all the pre-test.

Any suggestions
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Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 3,259 • Replies: 23
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Bella Dea
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 Aug, 2005 09:50 am
Why don't you be a parent and study with him? Make flashcards. Quiz him. Restrict extra activities until he makes some progress. Set aside 1 hour a night where he HAS to study his math. If he whines and cries, so what. Be a parent.
0 Replies
 
Phoenix32890
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 Aug, 2005 09:59 am
Here is a site where you can print up flash cards:

http://www.flashcardmath.com/flashcards/multiplicationv.pdf

When my granddaughter was entering 1st grade, she cried that she could not read at all. She stayed with me the summer before she entered school. I bought a copy of "Hooked on Phonics", and worked with her for a short while every evening. When school started, she could read with the best of them.

School can be an impersonal place. Sometime a student "falls through the cracks", because he has not caught on to a subject, and the teacher obviously cannot give him individual attention.

I agree with Bella Dea. One of the jobs of parenting is to give the child that little "extra" that he might need in getting an education.
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JPB
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 Aug, 2005 10:34 am
Depending on the math program your school district uses, the curriculum might be weak on drilling math facts in the earlier grades. Our school system was using the University of Chicago math program called "Everyday Mathematics". Its a program developed for and tested on gifted students and then implemented in many areas of the country in the regular math programs. The problem with using a gifted program in a regular classroom is that it doesn't stay on one topic long enough for most student to master the topic. It's also knows as 'spiral math' where they spend a day or two on each math topic and move on to another on, eventually spiraling back to the original topic.

Our district scraped Everyday Mathematics after 5 years, but by then many kids, including my two daughters, had gone through the program and not mastered their math facts. We enrolled them in a program called Kumon, which is a private skills class that has them do 20 minutes of math drills every day. We also did flash cards every so often when they stopped going to the Kumon classes. Well over half the kids in our school district had to have supplementary math skills training before moving on to Jr High math. The skills can come from an outside class like Kumon, or they can come from personal practice, but the only way to master them is with drills.

Here's a link to the Kumon web site, if you want to find a class near you.

http://www.kumon.com/?ovmkt=028MFGHAO9CLFS5FSHTCT6F9H0
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Jim
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 Aug, 2005 10:42 am
Here's what worked with our kids:

I cut up a few sheets of paper into lots and lots of pieces about the size of a large postage stamp. I took ten of these pieces and wrote the number "7" on each one of them.

I sat down with our son and showed him one of the pieces of paper. Here is "7" one time. It is equal to seven. I then added a second piece of paper. Now we have seven two times, or 14. And so on.

Or, you could do what my parents did with me. Get several pieces of lined notebook paper, and draw three or four lines to make columns on each side. Then they had me write out in longhand several hundred times "7 x 8 = 56" over and over and over again. Not much fun, but it worked.
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yitwail
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 Aug, 2005 10:54 am
this is something obvious, but it's worth remembering that multiplication is commutative--in plain words, 2x3 is the same as 3x2, etc. so this cuts down the number of flash cards in half.
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squinney
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 Aug, 2005 11:01 am
Don't know that it was called "everyday math" in our area, but multiplication tables were NOT a big emphasis here. They were teaching X's in third grade, towards end of year. When my daughter got to end of third grade, there was an unresolved decision as to whether or not to teach them end of third or befinning of fourth.

So, guess what. None of the third grade teachers taught them, and the decision was to leave them at the end of third grade curriculum. Decision was conveniently made during the SUMMER!

When boy got to third grade, he learned his X's somewhat, but the general mood was that it didn't really matter or need to take up a lot of time in the class... afterall, everyone now days has calculators, right? So, it isn't very realistic to spend time teaching X's tables when in real life they will be using calculators.

Flashcards at home, about 20 minutes per weeknight, were very effective.
0 Replies
 
Chai
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 Aug, 2005 11:25 am
I don't know if many others people's mind works like this, but I was never really able to take numbers and multiply or divide, or sometimes even add or subtract without doing some conversion in my brain that had it make sense to me.

learning the x's tables was so frustrating for me, I felt like I was thrown in a muddle of numbers that made no sense.

When something clicked in my head that add 9 to a number was just the same as add 10 and then subtracting 1, it was like a door opened for me.

A few months ago I was sitting at the car wash chatting w/ a woman whose son was working on his multiplication homework. She said he was having problems with the 7's and 8's (yeah, no kidding, they're a bitch)

I was just saying to her what I just wrote above, when the kid looked up and said "so, would that be like adding 10, and then subtracting, uh...3?"

The mom and I just looked at each other. We definately saw a door open.

Frankly there's a lot of things in math I work out in my head adding 2 or 3 extra steps. I can remember telling the teacher how I was doing something and being told "Well, that wrong", but I was was getting the correct answer, wasn't that what the purpose was. It doesn't take me any longer to come up with the answer than someone who figures it "the right way" whatever that is.

Maybe this 7th grader needs to be exposed to as I ended up thinking about it, the various path up the mountain.

Then he'll naturally pick the one that works in his brain.

Hmmmmm?
0 Replies
 
panzade
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 Aug, 2005 11:25 am
Have the same problem with our 7th grader. Seems they rely on the calculator. I spent the summer drilling with flash cards.
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Eva
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 Aug, 2005 03:40 pm
Oh, sheesh. Our public schools adopted "Everyday Mathematics" this past year, and virtually every kid in my son's class dropped a letter grade. Maybe it would have been different if they'd started it when he was in 1st grade, but he was just finishing up elementary school...5th grade. The curriculum change was very frustrating for everyone. The teachers hated it as much as anyone.

It was almost as frustrating for the parents. It's a terrible curriculum. There aren't even any teacher workbooks. Several times I threw away the homework sheets he brought home and taught him on my own. Now, I'm no math whiz, but the way this is taught just doesn't make sense. They frequently add more steps than necessary to reach a conclusion, or omit necessary thought processes, leaving the kids to learn it merely by rote. The only kids who tested well in math at the end of last year took Kumon or had private tutors in addition to their schoolwork.

I cannot say enough bad things about "Everyday Mathematics." Starting next week, my son will be going to a private school. I sure hope they don't use this. If they do, it's off to Kumon for us.
0 Replies
 
ralpheb
 
  1  
Reply Thu 18 Aug, 2005 11:36 pm
It appears everyone is still focused on flash cards and rote memorization. I know, we all did it when we were growing up and we learned mathe ergo it works. Now it's time to learn different techniques. ALL people learn better when they are enjoying learning and when learning becomes relevant to their needs. Has anybody tried to take the childs interests into account and developed a learning strategy based off those interests?
Example: if your child likes baseball and his favorite hitter gets three hits in one game how many hits will he have over 2, 3, 4 etc.
Make learning fun!
The next quick point is calcualtors. They are just like computers. You need to know the basics of everything before you move to advanced technology. Calculators HELP students with higher math and science calculation. Don't dismiss them just because they weren't being used when you were a student.
Your childrens math skills should have been developed long before they got to 7th grade. You and the teachers should have been noticing these weaknesses earlier. If you are still counting on your fingers when your doing basic math tjat could be what your child has developed as a learned behavior.
itha, have you posted this question in the teaching site?
0 Replies
 
Noddy24
 
  1  
Reply Fri 19 Aug, 2005 12:52 pm
Fun's fun, but you can't laugh your life away.

A great deal of basic knowledge can taught most efficiently by repetitious drill. I agree completely that learning the concepts involved can be made entertaining--particularly for kids who enjoy learning concepts.

Unfortunately many middle school kids (and parents of middle school kids) have decided that tedious learning--such as the times tables--is optional. After all, we all have calculators.

This distortion of Learning Should Be Fun shortchanges kids--and they don't have the math to appreciate the facts they lack.
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panzade
 
  1  
Reply Fri 19 Aug, 2005 02:40 pm
Ralph, you might not have a middle schooler at present.It's a whole new ballgame. They're not teaching the gifted or the lagging. They're trying to pass the class. No child left behind and all that baloney. So my kid got passed along even though he didn't remember what 2x3 equals.
Yes, we trusted the school, and waited too long to adress the problem. Now the flash cards are imperative.

BTW I also did the baseball math thing as a 10 year old. Worked well.
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FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Fri 19 Aug, 2005 02:50 pm
When I was in third grade and learning my times tables, we played "around the world" which was basically a flash card competition. The first kid in the row would stand up next the second kid. Teacher pulled out a flash card and whoever got the right answer first went to the next seat. Last one standing wins a prize. We liked it because it was a competitive game. Years later, I used it with some kids I babysat for and it worked for them too. You can use the flash cards AND have fun.

Also, get the kid watching Cyberchase on PBS.
0 Replies
 
Chai
 
  1  
Reply Fri 19 Aug, 2005 02:55 pm
Noddy24 wrote:
Fun's fun, but you can't laugh your life away.

A great deal of basic knowledge can taught most efficiently by repetitious drill. I agree completely that learning the concepts involved can be made entertaining--particularly for kids who enjoy learning concepts.

Unfortunately many middle school kids (and parents of middle school kids) have decided that tedious learning--such as the times tables--is optional. After all, we all have calculators.

This distortion of Learning Should Be Fun shortchanges kids--and they don't have the math to appreciate the facts they lack.


With all due respect Noddy (and boy do I have a lot of respect for you Very Happy ) I beg to differ on some of your points.

Now, I'm no edumacated teacher or nuthin' Laughing but I was a student, so if I may be allow to put in my two cents....

Some kids who are VERY intelligent just don't learn well by rote, I was one of them.
As best as I can explain, my thought process for as long as I can remember has been like an interstate highway system. Everything is somehow connected, there are exit ramps, clover leafs, bridges and so forth. Even explaining this isn't straight forward. Very Happy

The thing is, it doesn't take someone like me (or lots of other people) any longer to figure something out, it only sounds confusing when we have to explain to someone else how we got the answer, but it is really kind of intuitive how some people do it.

Like I was saying in my last post, for instance with multiplication tables, I only got good at multiplying when I decided I needed to keep my method for how I was getting the answer a secret, or else I was going to get told I was doing it WRONG.

Isn't that a shame, we want our children to grow up to be creative, happy, independant people, but want them to learn something by doing a goosestep.

Obviously I'm quite a communicator Very Happy , and learned to read very easily and seemed to have a sense of logic more advanced than most kids.....BUT I always struggled for instance with math.

When I got to high school I thought freshman year algebra was the end of the world.....I embarrassed myself by crying in the middle of class, which for anyone who has ever been brought to that point in a classroom, knows that is not going to help you learn, now you just want your life to end because you cried in front of all these people because you didn't know what x or y was.
The method the teacher tried to use to help me after class?
Repeating to me over and over (by rote) the same words and examples that had made to sense to me in the first place.
I'm not good at memorizing either......but if I was I suppose I could have memorized enough of whatever it was they were talking to me about to get past a test or two, but in the end, that would only bite me in the ass.

Long story short (too late) I barely made it out of freshman algebra alive, while getting A's in every other subject.
Because I did so poorly (and I didn't understand why, and felt so ashamed) they stuck me in sophomore year in "applied" geometry. I guess that's the equivilant today of a special ed class. By the way, this is a college prep school, all but maybe 2 or 3 kids in my graduating class did not go on to college.

Well, the hardest thing we had to do in that class was draw a box, so I did okay.
That was it for math in high school

Upon getting to college, again I was confronted with the demon algebra. It was just as horrible as I expected.
Sometime during that class, i re-discovered my old secret of realizing "hey, even though he says do this and this, when I do this, this and this, I come up with the same answer every single time!
I was able to go to class for a little while without getting nauseous, until the instructor saw how I was doing something and told me I was WRONG.

OK then, a few weeks later this instructor had to leave due to health issues and we got a replacement - Oh God, what instruments of torture would she apply?
I remember showing her my work, and telling her how I couldn't do it the "right" way, and suddenly, there was a little tiny ray of light shining through the dark clouds.
"I don't care, just as long as you get the answer and can explain why"
Got a C in the class, I was so proud.

Then came Statistics (don't worry, this is all important, keep reading) I had heard how everyone hated Statistics, so I wasn't optimistic.

Shortly into the class, the instructor wrote on the board my old enemy, "X =" and a bunch of other stuff. Then he started telling a story about buying insulation and the heat in the basement as opposed to the heat in the attic, and what different thickness of insulsation had to do with it.........

Shocked Shocked Shocked Shocked....... OH.....MY......GOD.......X was the temperature in the attic..........WHY THE F*CK DIDN'T ANYONE EVER TELL ME THEY WERE JUST TRYING TO FIND OUT WHAT THE TEMPERATURE IN THE ATTIC WAS!!!!!!

It was a Helen Keller moment.
Got a B+ in Statistics.

This instructor NEVER moved on until EVERYONE in the class understood where is was going, and had the gift of being able to describe an elephant as a rope, a wall or a tree trunk, depending on what you needed.

So, like I said, I'm no teacher, but I do know what frustration is when you're sitting somewhere, knowing you've read and understood Voltaire by the time you were 9, but feel like an idiot because you're told you're doing it WRONG. Crying or Very sad Crying or Very sad

So, if a kid is one of those who isn't getting it, why not, as a teacher find out how his brain works, and explain it in a way that seems totally cockamammy to you, but just might be the answer for him.

BTW How much is 7 + 8? Well, that would be either 7+7+1 to make it eight so the answer in 15, or 8+8-1 to make it seven so the answer if 15, or it's 7+8 um I don't know I hate 7's and 8's let me get out my fingers, ok the answer is still 15.

Some people are simply not rote learners, let us be, let us be.
Maybe those kids can teach you a thing or two.

Oh - and you CAN laugh your way through life....in fact, I know of no other way.
0 Replies
 
FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Fri 19 Aug, 2005 03:01 pm
You make very good points, Chai Tea. And by the way, good math teachers are few and far between. I've been blessed with several in my lifetime and apologize for taking your share.
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Bella Dea
 
  1  
Reply Fri 19 Aug, 2005 03:17 pm
I suck at math. Always have. Even now I struggle with math in my head. But kids now can't even count back change correctly without the register doing it for them. And that is sad. Calculators need to come with algebra and higher maths. Not to learn basic math. Kids need to know that calculators are HELP.
0 Replies
 
yitwail
 
  1  
Reply Fri 19 Aug, 2005 03:24 pm
funny, people generally recognize that every child is different, but often they act as if there's one best way to teach every child. makes more sense to try it one way, and if that doesn't work for a particular child, then try another way for that child.
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 19 Aug, 2005 03:29 pm
That's what I was gonna say, yitwail, in response to Chai's interesting post. What is more at fault than any single method is the idea that any single method will work for everyone.

Good teaching requires empathy and creativity among many, many other skills. <usual rant about the need to value these kind of teachers excised>

Enthusiastic seconding of FreeDuck's Cyberchase recommendation.
0 Replies
 
ralpheb
 
  1  
Reply Sat 20 Aug, 2005 02:23 am
A real quick note: there is a thing called multiple intelligences. It was introduced??? by Harold Gardner. what he claims is that people learn in different ways ie some people learn by doing others by reading others by watch others by listening. The goal for all parents and teachers is to use as many different ways to teach something. And, there is always one key element in all of learning: what's in it for me.
When I was in high school I failed physics. Later on I learned about bullets and balistics. I then went to college and took physics again. I looked at how physics applied to balistics, motorcycles and other things I was interested in. I received an A in that class and had the highest gpa in the class as well.
Reminder: if it doesn't relate to us or we have no desire to learn it, we won't.
And, my wife says I have a warped sense of humor that I have passed on to our children:)
also, I'm one of those silly edumacated people that school districts don't hire because I only teach, I don't coach.
0 Replies
 
 

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