Year 2 weekly timestables

(29 Posts)
MineyMoe Thu 23-Nov-17 20:26:34

DS has a weekly times tables test every Thursday. First week was 2x up to 12 and reverse (e.g., 2 x 12 and 12 x 2, 2 x 7 and 7 x 2). Those that get all 20 questions correct are tested on the next number the following week. Those who miss 1 or more of the 20 have to repeat the 2x table the following week instead of progressing. Follow me?

This was ok for DS for the first 4 weeks: 2x, 5x, 10x, review. But now they have moved to 3x, 4x, 7x, 8x, 9x, etc. With 2x, 5x, 10x they have had 1.5 years of various practice counting in 2s, 5x, 10s, number line, grouping, hundred chart, etc, The other numbers they appear to have had no concrete practice.

He has squeaked through the weekly set, but now that he is at the part to consolidated knowledge, he has fallen behind. He's demotivated because 1) he is now behind his peers for the rest of the year on the weekly test because he has to re-take the previous week (missed 4); 2) he feels lilke he's no good at maths, which is not true at all. They simply have not taught them these number sets and appear to be skipping parts of the curriculum, which for Year 2 is only meant to cover 2x, 5x, 10x.

How to I raise this with the school? What is the point in memorising these symbols with no understanding to underpin it? It is very demotivating and I think it's unreasonable to be testing in such an aggressive way when they have not given them sufficient tools or time to really understand beyond 2x, 5x, 10x.

OP’s posts: |
user789653241 Thu 23-Nov-17 20:39:09

Does he understand the concept of multiplication? Then I don't see no harm in learning all the other tables.
Ds's school did the same, if they were secure with 2x, 5x, and 10x, they moved on to next ones in yr2.
It will be even more of memorizing times tables in ks2.
But if he doesn't get the concept behind it, you need to raise it with teacher, I think.

sirfredfredgeorge Thu 23-Nov-17 20:46:22

The entire rest of his class are managing their 3, 7, 8 ?

As you say, if he doesn't understand multiplication, it strikes me as pretty odd to be wasting time on testing.

Arkadia Thu 23-Nov-17 21:42:51

Have him practice at home every single day for 10 mins or so.
Y2 is plenty to do all the times tables and I think it is good that the school does them.
Most likely the other kids will make mistakes at some stage, so if he does not he will catch them up.
Conceptually there is nothing different between the 2x and the 9x tables, so there is no real reason not to do them.
As to what the best way is... For me is to practice at home in whichever way works for the boy.

MineyMoe Thu 23-Nov-17 21:50:36

Thanks for your replies. We do at least 10 mins a day, but I think he needs more time to learn them. It seems pretty pointless to me to memorise without actually understanding, which is what I suspect a lot of them are doing using either music or timestables apps.

OP’s posts: |
user789653241 Thu 23-Nov-17 22:03:53

If he doesn't get the concept of multiplication, using some visual object might help. Lego pieces, counters, abacus, etc.

Also this might help.

MrsHathaway Thu 23-Nov-17 22:15:38

Learning them by rote is a useful thing in its own right, but I agree that it's completely separate from understanding what multiplication is.

It's useful forever to be able to recite "six fours are ..." and have your brain autocomplete "twenty-four". But it's the same part of your brain as learns "who you gonna call?" ... "Ghostbusters!" Which is why songs and apps help you drill them in.

I dunno. I think times tables and number bonds are really useful and worthwhile. Learning concepts of multiplication as an abstract idea is something else and worth learning with division - e.g. three sweets each for seven children is how many altogether? If I have 21 sweets and a portion is 3, how many children will get a portion of sweets? If there are seven children, how many do they get each? Inverse operations are a big deal in Y2 so that kind of manipulating is important.

Maybe flashcards of the week's table but as triangles: so for 3×7=21 you put 3 and 7 on the bottom and 21 on the top. Cover any one to get the calculation to create it e.g. cover 3 and he says "21÷7= ... 3"

If you stimulate different parts of the brain with the same information it goes in better!


Arkadia Thu 23-Nov-17 22:36:53

Mrs Hathaway beat me to it. I was about to say exactly the same thing ;)
He WILL learn them. Remind him that this is an effort he has to do ONCE in his lifetime.

brilliotic Thu 23-Nov-17 23:10:05

Yes he will have to learn them sooner or later and yes to the suggested strategies, however, it is not working for him right now. It's stressing him and upsetting/demotivating him. That's the problem, not the fact that he has to learn the tables.

Personally it annoys me no end that (some) schools simply outsource teaching (e.g. times tables, spellings) to parents and revert to testing/assessing only. But that aside, I'd say this is not a battle worth fighting as you won't win it. So you just have to work out how best to teach your child/help him learn the times tables.

And I think the key thing you need to get across right now, before you think about patterns in the 9 times table or even about memorising vs understanding, is that it is not a competition. You rightly note that they do not have to know tables beyond 2x, 5x, 10x in Y2 so not only is it not a competition with other children, but also there is no need to rush. Can you get this message across to your DS (despite the obstacles, i.e. that school gives a strong impression of it being a rush, and creates an atmosphere of competition about it)?

Once your child knows that whatever happens, he is ALREADY ahead of end-of-year expectations, he might be a bit more resilient towards feelings of being rubbish at maths. And once he understands that it is not a competition with the other children, but merely a task that he has to complete for himself before the end of Y4 (!), he will be able to appreciate the progress he makes rather than only see how he is behind some of his peers.

THEN he will be in the right place for you to work together on gaining deeper understanding of multiplication, of the patterns within the tables, etc.

Having that base, and given that your child does not have general issues with memorising, it will then be a matter of maybe 3 weeks to memorise all the rest of the tables (DS did just that in the first 3 weeks of Y3, on his own initiative). And that's what matters - which set of tests he is on at school in comparison with his friends does NOT matter.

brilliotic Thu 23-Nov-17 23:18:41

Oh and, regarding the demotivation, I found that what really gave DS' motivation a boost was when I demonstrated to him that he already knew half the number facts he needed to learn. Using a multiplication square, we crossed off the ones he knew already (1x, 2x, 5x, 10x); we quickly added 11x to that, as the pattern is so easy that there are only really two facts to memorise (11x11, 12x11). Turns out there were only 7+6+5+4+3+2+1 = 28 number facts left.

But that relies on seeing the aim of the whole thing as learning the tables, rather than as keeping up with his friends.

brilliotic Thu 23-Nov-17 23:24:51

Sorry, that was meant to say, more than half - if you count the 1x table, he knew 42 facts already and had merely 28 more to learn. Shown on a chart, it is quite striking, visually. If you cross off some odd number facts he may have picked up along the way, e.g. DS has always known that 12x12=144 because it is the biggest number in the chart, and right at the bottom right hand corner; and has known 8x8=64 due to 'I ate and ate until I was sick on the floor'; then the proportion of known vs unknown further increases, e.g. 44 known vs 26 left to learn. Makes it seem a doddle!

MineyMoe Fri 24-Nov-17 07:13:34

These are really helpful thoughts and suggestions. I am resigned that it is not a battle that I am going to win even if I do resent that they are testing them on something that they are not taking the time to actually teach and the impact it's had on my child. I will take these ideas onboard and help him through this. At least as you say when it's done it's done. And I do recognize there is value in knowing these by route. I just completely disagree with how the school is going about it. Thanks again.

OP’s posts: |
Helspopje Fri 24-Nov-17 07:19:49

Our school does this method too - calling it bronze silver platinum double platinum. The best part of a term in all the kids are at different levels. Are you sure they have to all hit the same pace?

Fattymcfaterson Fri 24-Nov-17 07:25:19

I doubt he's falling behind his peers, I have a ds in the same year and alot of them are still on 2/5/10s

SamineShaw Fri 24-Nov-17 07:30:09


As a TA in year 2 I highly doubt that after just 1 term everyone in his class has got it and he hasn’t. Maybe just his friendship circle? Remind him the the longer it takes the better it will ‘stick’ smile and that everyone learns differently. Is there something else that he is really good at that others still struggle with?

Tanaqui Fri 24-Nov-17 07:35:04

If he understands the concept behind the 2s, 5s and 10s, there is no more concept to learn! Check he understands what 3x 4 represents; then it just learning by rote- nothing left for school to actively teach.

ellaballoo Fri 24-Nov-17 07:46:16

Can I just recommend this game . It can work miracles .

GU24Mum Fri 24-Nov-17 07:57:31

I think quite a lot of children don't "get" the point of tables until they do longer multiplication & division sums a bit higher up the school. If they get the groundwork in now then they'll be able to do multiplication etc quickly up the school. One of mine understands the concept very well but can't be bothered to learn the tables so he's painfully slow.... I think it would have been easier the other way round!

Witchend Fri 24-Nov-17 08:25:42

I doubt he's behind his peers, although he may think he is.
I remember a friend commenting to me that she was worried as her dd had told her that she was in the bottom reading group and everyone else in it was better.
I happened to be helping that term and had that child in my reading group for guided reading. Not only was it the second group, but she was definitely not struggling in it.

Arkadia Fri 24-Nov-17 09:19:01

Brill, I don't think it is outsourcing as in my view it is the ONLY way.
To do times tables at school it would be a painfully slow process. As there is no actual understanding involved, I fell children are much better off getting it over and done with as quickly as possible so they can move on.
And let's not forget, this is something you have to do ONCE in your lifetime.

Lisaquin01 Fri 24-Nov-17 09:29:23

My daughter is in year 2 and as far as I know they haven’t done much regarding times tables..

eddiemairswife Fri 24-Nov-17 09:39:21

I'm one of those in favour of learning them by rote. Understanding comes later. Too often young children are expected to grasp mathematical concepts, before they are mature enough to know what is meant.

user789653241 Fri 24-Nov-17 09:46:38

No, I have to disagree with you(again), Arkadia.grin
Yes, totally agree with you for the importance of the instant recall, but I think understanding concept behind it is equally important. Otherwise how can you use this knowledge to solve word problems, for example? Or applying for inverse operation?

Arkadia Fri 24-Nov-17 10:06:48

That will come with time...
And anyway, 2x2 or 7x9 are identical. Only the numbers change. If you understand why 2x2=4 there is no reason why you shouldn't understand or remember that 7x9=63.

Also, you practice times tables both going forward and in reverse (à la "hit the button") so you get everything in one fell swoop.

Once he school has done the groundwork in, say Y1, there is nothing stopping you getting everything done as quickly as possible in Y2. Then you just keep learning them by doing (long) multiplications or solve area problems or whatever you fancy over and over and in time it is all ingrained in your brain. There is no real reason to defer it any further. Yes, you need the family's help, but that doesn't seem to me like a big chore.

Arkadia Fri 24-Nov-17 10:10:29

It is a bit like understanding why you do long multiplications the way you do them... the algorithm is not difficult to comprehend, but probably it is TOO difficult for small kids to understand it in a meaningful fashion, but that doesn't stop them from using it efficiently. The benefit to be able to do long multiplications far outweighs the benefit derived from being able to prove that the algorithm actually works (and I bet that VERY FEW secondary school kids actually understand it fully)

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