Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Times Tales -- A Great Way to Learn Multiplication

     When my kids were younger, I had great visions that my children would learn loads of important facts and information through music.  When in preschool, I purchased 2 bible memory song CDs.  When my youngest began Sparks (AWANA), I bought the CD with the verses set to music.  I bought  skip counting, addition, subtraction, multiplication , and geography-- all set to music.  Don't ask to borrow them, though.  I have gotten rid of them all.  Many children learn through song, but my children are not among them.  When the whining is louder than the songs, at some point you have to give up and say, "This isn't working!"
     So my oldest and I trudged through addition, subtraction, and multiplication facts.  This year, my youngest began learning multiplication facts.  The 0s, 1s, 2s, and 10s are easy -- but the 5s and beyond start to get tricky.  Well, we have a great find to share:  Times Tales by Trigger Memory System.
     Each number is a person or thing.  A chair is 4, Mrs. Week is 7, the first grade class is 6 (because most first graders are six years old), Mrs. Snowman is 8, and so on.  The video shares each character and then introduces the characters in stories.  After the children memorize the stories, they know their upper math facts.  There is a quiz at the end, and there is an extra CD-rom that includes worksheets and flashcards.
     For example, Mrs. Week's (7) first grade class (6) has 42 students  (7x6=42), Mr. and Mrs. Snowman (8 and 8) must eat 6 snowcones 4 times a day (slurp, slurp -- 8x8=64), and the first grade class (6) played musical chairs (4) for 24 hours.  (Yawn!  6 x 4 = 24).  When the narrator tells the story of Mrs. Snowman melting and the butterflies (number 3) flying away with her arms and apron, I burst into laughter.  The video is quirky and creative, but it works.  My youngest has watched it 5 times, and he's pretty much memorized all the upper multiplication facts.
     The DVD is a little pricey ($26.99 on Amazon), but in my opinion, it's so worth it.

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