Sunday, June 9, 2013

Math Notebooks (Part 2 of a gazillion parts): Multiplication Facts Fast!

Multiplication facts are a big problem in my classes.  Even though I have 6th graders, most do not know their basic facts fluently - addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division.  Next year, the first month is going to be about the basics.

The multiple charts in Part 1 of a Gazillion Parts: Multiples are a Mystery (I have quite the knack for titles:) will be the first lesson in our Math Notebooks, and Multiplication Facts Fast will be the second lesson.  Most of my students need a multiplication chart for anything involving multiplication or division, and I only allow them to use a chart that they make themselves.  If they make themselves,  they can use it on any test - all they need is scratch paper:)

A few years ago, we were able to go see Brad Fulton for a full day workshop.  He has all sorts of shortcuts and tricks.  The following charts and foldable for the Math Notebook are ones that I made and were adapted from his methods.  His steps are a little more complicated, I really simplified them for my class.  Being very much a visual learner, I put my simplified steps onto charts for my class.  You can find out more information in his conference handout Fast Facts and Fractions Too!  He really packs the morning with fantastic stuff and you will walk away with some new tricks.

These charts are going to be made into a foldable for their Math Notebooks.  The first time we do this, they will just have blank chart.  These charts will be given out as mini-charts to put into their notebooks after we have gone through the steps as a class.

The first step is to write #1-12 going across, and then #2-12 going down.  It seems silly to emphasize going across and then down for each number, but it really is faster!

As I am doing this under the camera,  I will ask them to count by 2's as we go across and down.  Repeat for 5 and 10.  Most students know their 2's, 5's, and 10's, so they are the easiest to start with.  Some students will want to speed ahead, but I make them slow down and follow along.  Just like with the multiples, they need to see the patterns and logic in a multiplication chart - too many of the ones that struggle just see a mass of unrelated numbers.

I love this trick!  They can get the threes done by adding rows 1 and 2.  As we move along with the lesson, I always point out how many empty squares are disappearing, and many facts for other numbers are filled in.  This amazes most of my kids, they don't think of them as being related.

Most kids are going to be able to their 11's, at least to 99.  10 x 11 is done, so they just have to add 11 to it for 11 x 11.
Nines are notorious for giving kids problems.  Some people do the thing with their fingers, but I never understood that method.  My mom taught me this one, and it still works.
By the time we have done all the easy ones and the ones with tricks, there are really very few squares left to be filled in.  From here they can add the 1's column with the 3's column to fill in their 4's, or add the 1's column with the 5's column to get the 6's, or add to fill in any of the blank spaces.

I do this with them, step by step, across and down, for about a week.  This year, I will give them the mini-charts and we will make a foldable (or maybe just cut and paste it in the notebook as is?), after we do it the first time.

The next couple of times, I will have them use their notebooks to tell me what we do next.  By the end of the week, I will start having "Timed Times" races.  They should be able to complete a chart on their own within 3-4 minutes by the end of the first quarter.  I don't do it everyday, but at least 3 times a week.  Sometimes it is their "exit ticket" out the door:)

So sorry that these are not perfect shots, I had to crop screen shots.  The scanner and camera kept picking up the greens, and washing the shots in blue:)  The PDF file for the Multiplication Facts Fast charts are found here:)  The one page mini-chart one was simply made by going to Page Layout options on my printer screen and putting it to 6 for the number of pages per printed page.  These are shared in good faith - so don't go all TPT and TN crazy:)

Again, these pages are adapted from Brad Fulton's workshop, Fast Facts and Fractions Too.    There are all sorts of cool tips that I don't use with my students that you might find useful with your students.  In addition, a simple Google search will give you even more of his resources.


  1. I love this! I will definitely do this for my support 6th graders next year!

  2. Thank you! I promised my self that I would make these this summer and decided to share them. Glad you can use them too!

  3. Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful resource! I can't tell you how much I need something like this to use with my 5th graders.

    1. Speaking as a 6th grade teacher, please do! :)