Times tables and TT Rockstars

(30 Posts)
Pascha Wed 24-Apr-19 08:14:07

School has introduced TT Rockstars for all children from last term, with the idea that the children have a go every day for a few minutes. In theory this seems great but it's not working for either of my kids. Both turn into rabbits caught in headlights when faced with the time counting down and they are consistently getting the answers wrong because they panic and read the question wrong.

Is this just a case of practice every day? How can I help it seem less traumatic? We have tears which is silly because when the time element is removed they can answer well enough.

I know they have to get to the point of answering quickly but it seems like the app is knocking their confidence and we are going backwards.

OP’s posts: |
Gizlotsmum Wed 24-Apr-19 08:16:09

Can you change the time settings so they have longer? Maybe encourage them to beat their own score not worry about anyone else (hard I know as my school. Use it). Maybe do it once as a baseline and then work to improve on that..

Sirzy Wed 24-Apr-19 08:20:10

How old are they?

From next year year 4 children will have to do a timed times table test which is why a lot of schools are introducing this now.

I would just encourage them to compete with themselves on it and use it as a chance to practise reading things well with some degree of speed as that is a useful skill too

jackparlabane Wed 24-Apr-19 08:21:33

Same issue with my son. He can work out times tables but freezes and can't do on-the-spot maths. TTRS had him hiding under the table.
Instead he does worksheets on paper and can finish them later. It's making him engage in class though in Y5 he still doesn't know beyond his 2,5,10 and 11x.

autumnboys Wed 24-Apr-19 08:26:39

We skipped the sound check for a long time because it had all the questions up to 12x12 and he just didn’t know the answers. We played the teacher set tables in the garage, over and over. We also use the studio now to set the time - his baseline speed was 22.43 and his current speed is 1.63. But he required a lot of encouragement and hand holding and me assuring him that it was okay to let an question time out when he didn’t know the answer.

At the beginning of this school year (yr 4) I was considering with drawing him from school on the day of the times table test - our school is taking part in the pilot study, as he found them so stressful and only really knew 2/5/10. TTRS has been a big help. We also do a lot of counting by numbers, singing
Percy Parker. One thing we found useful was nailing all the 5 x, so if he was counting on his fingers, for example to do 8x3, he could say 15, 18, 21, 24 instead of starting at 3.

Good luck! I was very unsure about it to start with, but it has been useful to us. He is old in his year, but had autism and is generally behind in everything, so it’s been great to find something he can do well at.

Longtalljosie Wed 24-Apr-19 08:27:32

We had TTRS a couple of years ago. I knew nothing of it until DD started crying hysterically in the bathroom apropos of nothing, saying she was a wannabe and that was all she would ever be, that she would never be a legend. Imagine my complete confusion. Compounded by her saying her friend had been a wannabe but was now a garage act! We then moved schools (unrelated!).

We found Dorling Kindersley’s Times Tables app really good. You race against a car to get the answers, but it’s gentler than TTRS and might help with confidence.

Pascha Wed 24-Apr-19 08:28:51

They are Yr3 and Yr1. I will look into extending the time and I will speak to their teachers about coping mechanisms and the worksheet would be better certainly for ds2 who is only just getting to grips with times tables.

OP’s posts: |


LetItGoToRuin Wed 24-Apr-19 10:44:14

DD’s school introduced TTRS at the start of this academic year (DD is Y3). DD is also the sort to get flustered with a time limit. I combated it by getting a home account and just setting a single times table in the ‘garage’ until she was really confident with it (with nobody judging timings!). Basically, we’d use the home account for practising, and the school account for ‘performance’ I also had to ‘manage’ DD’s feelings when the teacher would change the tables in the ‘garage’ very randomly – sometimes leaving one for weeks, and then suddenly changing it every few days, before DD could get confident on that set of tables.

Despite these issues, I would now say that TTRS was brilliant for getting DD to learn her tables. DD went from knowing only her 2s, 5s and 10s at the start of Y3, to being fluent in everything up to 12x12 by Christmas. The only thing that holds her back now is typing speed/errors. It was worth the short-term pain.

You just need to find ways to make it manageable for your children. I think you can hide the clock, for example. I also recommend setting a single table at a time in the ‘garage’ so they can get confident in stages – if this is teacher-controlled, ask whether you can request that this be changed when you feel the time is right – but if the teacher either can’t or won’t change it at a day’s notice, frequently, I’d suggest you get your own account. It’s not expensive. There’s no way a teacher can keep as careful an eye on children’s progress such that they change the settings at just the right time, and we did have tears on a couple of occasions, when DD had ‘nailed’ 7s and 4s during October half term, first by own learning, then parent testing on car journeys and finally on the home TTRS account, and when she finally logged onto the school account during the inset day at the end of the break, she found that the teacher had changed it to 8s!

Russell19 Wed 24-Apr-19 10:54:31

Year 1 do not need to be doing times tables.... not in the curriculum. In my opinion it's too soon, they need to understand the meaning of it and the practical side of multiplication first. No point just rote learning. So please don't worry about your dc2.

As for the other child, BLAME THE GOVERNMENT! Stupid times tables test for year 4.... just more data to analyse for no reason and to judge schools on how they have had children memorize times tables, no idea how to use them or apply in real life. This is why schools are introducing things like TTRS to prepare the children as it would be totally unfair to just spring a timed test on them. At least this way it is introduced gradually but I think my views are clear grin

Pascha Wed 24-Apr-19 12:26:51

Yes I agree about ds2, I'm not worried about him using TTR properly. Im going to have a nose at ds1's account and see what is alterable. I haven't explored it myself, just let him sign on and follow instructions himself. Off to rectify that now.

OP’s posts: |
GenericHamster Wed 24-Apr-19 12:55:56

I let mine 'cheat' with TT at home - ie we have a dinner mat (weird, but they have loads of cool educational ones on amazon) with multiplication on and I let him look if he didn't know because the thing with times tables is knowing it by rote rather than having to do the maths, I thought checking it would help.

Russell19 Wed 24-Apr-19 13:30:46

@generichamster that is actually a really good way to learn them! TTRS is a good tool but it doesn't help with teaching, it almost needs to come after. Your idea is great!

Pascha Wed 24-Apr-19 13:37:25

We have flashcards and a tables poster which have worked well up to now.

OP’s posts: |
FrustratedByAdmissions Wed 24-Apr-19 13:50:03

You can definitely change the settings so the count down timer doesn't appear. It took some time to persuade my daughter that getting answers wrong was ok, but she has taken to it and it has helped her with times tables (she's in year 2)

Nectarines Fri 26-Apr-19 21:12:25

Try the ‘daily 10’ on topmarks. It’s free.
There are loads of mental maths strands to practice, including tables. Ten questions and you can choose the intervals between questions.
It ends with the answers for children to mark their responses.
Highly recommended as a practice tool to lead up to TTRS success.

wasgoingmadinthecountry Fri 26-Apr-19 21:45:19

I'm one of the few teachers I know to think TTRS is hugely over rated. Lots of free maths check type practice free - I like the free one on Mathsframe because you can change the times tables tested and the time allowed.
TTRS too gimmicky and time wasting for me. Plus not free!


Changedmynametoolikeyou Fri 26-Apr-19 21:53:24

My ds is mad about ttrs. However his school only starts times tables at age 9 (3rd class here) I was surprised at how late it was but because they spend so much time on number bonds before that they picked up the times tables amazingly quickly. We are in Ireland. I think it was really helpful to start them later.

Feenie Sat 27-Apr-19 00:56:09

Yes, but doesn't have the cache of the Rockstar status.

whatreallymatters45 Sat 27-Apr-19 15:51:08

I was just about to ask for help with how to get my 9 year old boy to learn his tables when I saw this thread. Rock stars is not going well he is quite highly strung and the time element just seems to freak him out. He seems to have a problem learning, memorizing and retaining answers but understands the concept of timetables and does averagely well in maths tests etc. However he is frustrated and impatient and I think his frustration would be diminished if was able to retain and use his tables more quickly.
I have tried worksheets, songs, using concrete materials, wall charts, bingo....... Has anyone found anything online or elsewhere that would be useful, help retain answer and most importantly be fun to use?

brizzlemint Sun 28-Apr-19 08:13:40

Do the times tables with something that interests them - marbles, toy cars etc etc

3 marbles x 4 marbles = the number of marbles they get to start a game of marbles with.

3 cars x 4 cars = the number of seconds head start they get in a toy car race with you.

Wait4nothing Sun 28-Apr-19 08:25:47

Our year 1s only access ttrs after meeting year 1 curriculum counting in 2, 5, 10s. They need to be 100% confident in this before trying multiplication questiond

ihearttc Sun 28-Apr-19 10:18:44

We don't have TTRS in DS2's school...they use a different app which is also timed and he finds it really stressful. In fact I made DS1 who is 14 and in the top maths set in Year 9 do it and he couldn't do it in the time before it beeped! In his words...as long as you know your times tables does it really matter if you take 10 seconds or 1.9 seconds to answer them?

sirfredfredgeorge Sun 28-Apr-19 12:12:58

as long as you know your times tables does it really matter if you take 10 seconds or 1.9 seconds to answer them?

Yes it does, that's the whole reason people learn times tables, if working them out every time wasn't a problem then there would be no point learning them.

The problem is that working them out takes working memory away from the rest of the problem you're working out

WombatStewForTea Sun 28-Apr-19 17:44:50

TTR have a new thing called automatic training mode which breaks it down into select timestables and automatically moves them on. I'd ask the teacher to switch in on for your dc

ihearttc Sun 28-Apr-19 18:28:01

You are missing my point. Im not saying they don't need to learn them...clearly they do as lots of maths higher up the school and then in High School is reliant on being confident in times tables. But why is is it so vitally important that they can do them in an specific time? DS1 has managed to get where he is in High School without being able to do them in under 1 second and his predicted grades at GCSE are not reliant on him knowing a set of numbers rote learned to be able to able to answer at speed. He understands how numbers work and can manipulate them...some bits he does incredibly quickly and some he takes longer. I know for a fact that he would have "failed" the times tables test in Year 4 cause his brain doesn't work that way...however he came out with amazing SATS results and is doing incredibly well at High School.

I think putting this much pressure on children at this age is ridiculous.

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