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## In fact it can be overwhelming for students!

Why? Well, to start with, there are 100 multiplication facts, and 100 division facts!
That's a whole lot of facts to learn! Take a look at this:

There they are, all 100 multiplication facts.

And the 100 division facts.

It just doesn't work to just hand these lists to the kiddos and tell them to learn them all!

Here are some ideas to help ease this heavy load!

Before the children start to work on memorizing facts, it's essential they understand what multiplication and division are! I like to spend plenty of time with manipulatives, as well as making and drawing arrays. I make sure they understand that 6 x 5 means 6 sets of 5. They use manipulatives to show six groups of 5 (as in the picture: 6 rows of cups, with 5 cups in each row), and draw an array with 6 sets of 5. When they have done a whole lot of this, and have a deep understanding of what it all means, then they can move on to fact fluency.

As you can see from the list of all the facts, it's just too much to assign them all at once! It's best to break them down into smaller groups, and best to create those groups by patterns. I recommend starting with the "x1 facts," which would be anything with 1 as a factor, and the related division fact.

Research on learning has taught us that this is how the brain learn best.

Each family has a total of 4 facts that can be created with the same combination of manipulatives. (Doubles only have 2 per family.)
This can be seen in the visual below:

The upper left shows 5 sets of 6. (5 x 6 = 30) The upper right shows 6 sets of 5 (6 x 5 = 30) The lower left shows 30 sorted into 5 equal sets (30 ÷ 5 = 6) and the lower right shows 30 items sorted into 6 equal sets (30 ÷ 6 = 5).

Studying the fact families really makes the whole thing easier! If they learn one combination, they've got 4 facts!

Just for fun, here's how the doubles work.

No matter how you turn the sets, it's still 5 sets of 5, so there's really only 2 possible combinations!

Research tells us that repeating the complete information orally helps the memory. They don't necessarily like to do this, but they'll admit it really helps them remember the facts!

If you've ever had to learn a new skill, I'm sure you've seen the value of practicing a little bit every day. Five minutes a day for 5 days will have more value than 30 minutes of practice once a week! Less time, more value! I work my fact practice into my math rotations in a variety ways: games, practice alone, practice with a partner, or practice with an adult.

Children develop their own tricks to help remember basic facts, and when they talk, they share those tricks! That makes everyone smarter!

Here's a trick I learned from my students! They've got plenty of ideas like this, that are worthy of conversation!

Most of the children will have a good deal of success with the above 6 strategies, but if they don't, don't let them fall through the cracks. I suggest doing some sort of assessment once a week, and keeping a record of how they do. Even when they don't show mastery, they should be showing growth each week. If they don't, something needs to be done.

Here are some suggestions:
1. Limit the amount of fact families. One or two fact families is enough for some children.
2. Work one on one with that student: 5 minutes a day.
3. Assign an adult to work one on one with that student.
4. Send home a set of facts to be practiced with a parent.

Here's a freebie set of practice and assessments for the x1 Fact Families:

It contains practice cards (with the answers to be printed on the back) 2 assessments, and access to Boom Learning Digital Task cards, which the children absolutely LOVE! And it's free!

If you're interested in just the Boom Learning format,that's a freebie, too!

If your students have success with this freebie, here's a link to the whole bundle: Fact Fluency System for Multiplication and Division: The Bundle

Here's a link to a similar bundle for addition and subtraction facts: Fact Fluency System for Addition and Subtraction: The Bundle

Plus, a chance to try out this system with this freebie: Fact Fluency System for Addition and Subtraction: Freebie

## What do you love about yourself?

This is a fun idea for a morning meeting discussion topic, a writing prompt, a homework assignment, or just a casual question. It's a great idea to get the kids to search for their own personalities and build some self-esteem.

It's a good idea to start off by giving a good example. Get them to think about specific personality traits, and encourage the children to celebrate themselves!

## Here are a few things:

1. I am a team player.
2. I always do my very best.
3. I am loyal and caring.
4. I am sensitive to the needs of others.
5. I am a survivor.

## What do you love about yourself?

### Seven Benefits of Teaching Handwriting

Many people wonder if teachers should still teach handwriting. It's not in the Common Core Standards. Handwriting isn't on the tests. Plus, writing by hand is being phased out by computers and other electronic devices.

## Not only is cursive writing becoming obsolete, but even manuscript (printing) is being phased out. Why should it be taught?

Here are seven benefits of teaching handwriting!

Research shows that younger students with strong handwriting skills grow into stronger readers and writers as they progress in school. This means we should start handwriting instruction in Pre-K and Kindergarten.

Research shows that when a student takes notes by hand, it helps the student remember what he's writing. Since writing involves more thought processes than typing, the brain is more likely to remember. This works with adults, too!

Handwriting is a skill that isn't on tests, but it helps engage other skills. It helps engage executive function, which will help students in many other areas, and life in general!

Typing fast at the computer can come in handy in many instances, but when composing an important piece of writing, it's best to slow down a bit and fully develop thoughts. Taking time to think through wording on important written passages is worth it!

When preschoolers first learn to write letters, they are opening paths in the brain that lead to reading! As they learn to master the multi-step strokes in each letter, their brains are preparing for the multi-step processes involved in reading.

Teachers and parents absolutely LOVE handwritten notes from their children! Do you know who else values a handwritten note? Grandparents, employers, party guests, and even customers! Seriously, think about how much grandma values a handwritten personal thank you note! Think about the value of a handwritten note of appreciation to a potential employer. It really makes a difference!

Here's a resource for writing thank you notes, including directions, etiquette, and examples: Writing thank you notes.

Here's a resource for letter writing: Classy Mail.

## As long as it's addressed in stress free manner, learning to write is fun for students! Learning both manuscript (printing) and cursive are status symbols to the children, and great source of pride!

If your district doesn't teach cursive, here's a resource that's self-directed. It's perfect for keeping the brain flowing and the kids absolutely love it! (Check out my video!)

## Cursive Writing: A Self-Directed Instructional Guide

Want to know more about the benefits of handwriting? Check out this post!