I dusted this baby off and it is working (and looking) BETTER than ever! I was using this game as a math center with my students, and a couple little things kept BUGGING me about it. Finally, I decided that I could do better – so I did. This product was due for a makeover and it got one over the weekend.
I changed the “cheat” at the top of the card to make it even more user friendly to new multiplication fact learners. I had a couple of strugglers who really didn’t know their facts, and they became frustrated unless they had a multiplication chart handy for reference. That just wasn’t sitting well with me. So we worked on skip counting as a whole group activity daily for the last several days, then during center time, I asked them to challenge themselves to improve their previous scores. They set a goal for themselves, and took off!
For this very simple game, all you need are the Multiplication Practice Mats and the corresponding numbers cut out and ready to go. A timer is optional. Below you can see me preparing the Multiplication Practice Mat. Prior to laminating, I taped a closed envelope to the back of the mat and wrote “3’s Gold” on it. The “3’s” represents the Practice Mat for 3’s, and the word “gold” is just a hint for me that I copied the corresponding multiples onto gold paper. It really makes staying organized and cleaning up easy! I had just laminated the Practice Mat, and the picture below shows how I am cutting open the envelope so that the pieces (multiples) can be stored inside the envelope right on the back of the Practice Mat! So simple! You then just take the edge of the scissors and cut along the flap gently so that it opens.
Here is the Practice Mat for the 3’s. You can see that the top set of boxes has all of the 3’s in order, and it works like a “cheat” for students learning their facts. My struggling learners had some trouble just completing the top portion, until they practiced a few times and gained some memory of the facts along with some confidence.
The bottom set of boxes contain the same facts (2 – 9), except that they are scrambled this time.
You can see the students in my class practicing their facts. They can use the timer if and when they feel comfortable using it. I have one student who really, really dislikes anything timed, so he completes the Practice Mats without the timer. I am constantly telling him that it’s nothing to worry about. He’s a worrier, and I want this to be as fun as possible, without any unnecessary stress.
Yep – it’s the dreaded finger-counter! He’s counting by 2’s, so it’s a step forward for him because when he first got the Practice Mat, he didn’t even realize that learning his 2’s was related to counting by 2’s (finding multiples!) It was an “Ah-Ha” moment for him!
I feel strongly that our students are pressured so much these days. I didn’t want the timers to be scary for them in any way, so I made sure that the game was low stress without competition from other students.
I was able to differentiate by offering easier Practice Mats to students who are still struggling to learn their facts. More advanced students quickly jumped ahead to working on 4’s, 7’s and 8’s. They like the 9’s – it makes them feel SMART! Yay!