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What's the best way to learn times tables?

(29 Posts)
PasstheTwiglets Fri 10-Jun-11 18:12:16

It seems to have fallen to me to teach them to DD (not sure why they aren't doing them in school but that's another issue!)

What's the best way to learn them, do you think? Me telling her and her reciting them, parrot-fashion (that's how we used to do it at school), writing them down, listening to times-tables songs...? Also, DD's maths tutor has suggested she repeat the pattern (3, 6, 9, 12) instead of the sum (once three is three, two threes are 6, three threes are 9). But I can't imagine that you get a quick recall of a particular multiplication unless you say the actual sum, can you?

nokissymum Fri 10-Jun-11 18:18:02

Funny this thread, as I am must teaching ds2 timetables, interested go see what others say. We are using the same methods you have mentioned, counting in 2s, 3s etc and memorising, I then call ds2 and ask him random

TT questions till he gets them all, used same method for ds1 and he knows all of them.

anthonytrollopesrevenge Fri 10-Jun-11 18:32:29

Our school seems to have taken the entire academic year - DS is in yr 3 - doing times tables and I am fed up of them. DS has to write out the table, read it and learn it. He tends to learn by reciting and recalling them.

mrz Fri 10-Jun-11 18:35:57

I use Percy Parker in school and most of my Y2 class know all their tables backwards, forwards and inside out.

nokissymum Fri 10-Jun-11 20:19:43

I've never heard of this Percy fellow, I'll definitely give him a try! Thank you.

itstheclimb39 Fri 10-Jun-11 20:21:23


itstheclimb39 Fri 10-Jun-11 20:21:56

sorry not usually that blunt xx yes repitition

mrz Fri 10-Jun-11 20:28:22

there is a definite case for rote learning

We also use Big Maths so have Learn Its -

PasstheTwiglets Fri 10-Jun-11 20:29:19

Percy Parker soudns great - just had a look on amazon though and he seems to be discontinued... I will have a search though, thank you!

floweryblue Fri 10-Jun-11 20:30:58

I think learning by repetition might be the best way.

How old is DD?

I was able to do multiplication aged 8 but had not learnt tables by rote as I lived in another country where it wasn't taught like that. When I moved back to UK at 8 years old, learning my times tables seemed to me at that age to be an odd thing to do, but as it turns out it is a very good shorthand in my brain.

mrz Fri 10-Jun-11 20:32:13

They are available on itunes

PasstheTwiglets Fri 10-Jun-11 20:35:09

DD is in Y3 (she's 8) but she's somewhat behind with maths.

Thankyou for the iTunes link, mrz, that's fantastic!

camicaze Fri 10-Jun-11 22:33:10

My dd would learn some well and then you would realise they were gradually becoming quite shaky. All very disheartening when it had been such hard work in the first place. It all changed when I got her to practice all the ones she knew every day and carried on giving her a list of them each day long after they were officially learnt. That made a massive difference. She certainly wasn't/isn't the sort of girl that just remembered them forever once learnt.
I can't help thinking that alot of parents help with the tables and assume they remain learnt, when they don't. Now my dd really knows her tables she is apperently really fast at division etc compared with the rest of her class. Hence my assumption that some of the parents of kids in her class think their child knows the tables when they don't anymore.

camicaze Fri 10-Jun-11 22:34:31

Thanks mrz for the big maths link which I saw on a previous post. Those 'learn its' are really useful!

pellshky Sat 11-Jun-11 16:45:15

Regular practice did it for my kids. kershaw kids either online or by printing out worksheets. Best of luck.

mollythetortoise Sat 11-Jun-11 22:16:27

i second camicaze. i was under the impression my dd (yr 3 but still 7) knew her's but today i asked her 4x6 and she didn't know it - we haven't practiced them for about 2 months as i thought she knew them all.
Same with telling the time - she forgotten that too despite knowing it well in term one.
we're going to start practising again and getting her to tell me the time at random intervals

i was quite disheartened as we'd spent a long time going over and over them in term one and term two

magdalene Sun 12-Jun-11 10:55:59

I thought rote learning was out of fashion mrz.

IslaValargeone Sun 12-Jun-11 11:01:28

I think rote learning probably is out of fashion, but I think it's really effective in the case of tables for example. My dd learned by rote, and then we threw random questions at her, and continue to do so.
Sometimes she gets up in the morning comes into our room and one of us hurls "what are nine eights" at her grin She finds it quite funny, and likes the confidence knowing her tables brings to the rest of her maths.

PasstheTwiglets Sun 12-Jun-11 11:11:39

It seems like by rote is the way to go. I do still remember them from when I was at school, so it must've worked, to stick for this long!

mrz Sun 12-Jun-11 11:30:44

magdalene like everything children are first taught practically and will have learnt that multiplication is repeated addition. They will have used practical equipment to add 7 sets of 2, they will have used arrays (bun tins are good, so are egg boxes) but if we want to do fast mental arithmetic then rote learning has a place. As IslaValargeone it gives children great confidence to have instant recall of number facts ... and what's more they enjoy it.
I think it went out of fashion but is creeping back as people realise it is a really useful tool (baby and bathwater)

legobuilder Sun 12-Jun-11 11:43:40

as well as repition, a good strategy is to link related calculations - so 2x is "double it", 4x "double it and double it again" and 8x "double it double it double it". IYSWIM. If your DD can answer "5x" then she can answer 10x. If she can answer 10x then she can answer 100x. If she doesn't know 7x7, go back to 5x7 and add on 2x7. Try to get her to link up what she does already know (place value, doubling/halving) and apply it to learning tables. Not everyone learns well by rote, and this might engage her more. there are several online games to play to practise, sumdog and the bbc website both have some, or google times tables game online.

Malaleuca Sun 12-Jun-11 13:51:36

There are two very good games that help children memorise the tables; one is computer- based at and does division as well as multiplication.
The other is called Perfect Times

It's better if children learn the three numbers in the fact eg two times three is six (as well as skip counting) so that they can use the tables for fractions.

magdalene Sun 12-Jun-11 17:37:11

From speaking to many parents in many state primaries, the times tables seem to be a real sticking point. Why is that? I am surprised because I managed to learn my times tables (by rote) and I was very weak at maths. When it came to use them to solve problems then it became a lot trickier. There are some great links on this thread so I'll know where to go when I get to that stage.
Glad rote learning has its place mrz (as you know, I have many concerns about the 'creative curriculum' and had imagined rote learning wouldn't feature..)

mrz Sun 12-Jun-11 18:01:54

As a school we use Big ~Maths which means we have lots of (rote) Learn Its and consider it very much part of the Creative Curriculum.

magdalene Sun 12-Jun-11 19:20:40

But isn't the 'creative curriculum' all about getting children to learn things themselves? The mere idea of a teacher standing and teaching children would give the school an ofsted of 4!!!!!! And is the 'creative curriculum' compulsory, Mrz?

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