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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!

This may sound like a post about run on sentences. Now I'm not crazy about those either, but this is a math post.

I'm talking about using the word AND when naming numbers. This is a little pet peeve of mine. I like to do the right thing, but the world hasn't been following me on this one!

The word AND is only used when there is a decimal point.

It's easiest to see when we're talking about money.

Don't say AND until you get to that decimal point. Here's another one:

It works the same way with all numbers. Like this one:
Or this one:

And another:

So many people have no idea they're not saying numbers properly. Even Rodger, my gps guy says it wrong! (Yes, you can change the voice on the WAZE gps app, and I chose a very sexy British guy named Rodger!)

Rodger might say, "Turn right on US Route four hundred and ninety-five."

I guess I'll have to forgive him, after all, he's got that sexy British accent!

### Getting students to answer questions in complete sentences is no easy task, is it?

Here are some hints on making it easier on the kids!
Let's say the question is "What is your favorite food?"
Teach them how to use the words from the question to start off their answer.
"My favorite food is..."

Another question could be, "How can you show kindness?"
"I can show kindness by..."

Or perhaps you could ask, "How could you help someone who forgot his lunch?"
"I could help someone who forgot his lunch by..."

Here's one more example: "What animal would NOT make a good pet?"
"An animal that would NOT make a good pet is..."

It's important they get plenty of opportunities to hear this process before they go to the next step.
Now they need to get more involved! Instead of just hearing it, they need to practice orally.

I find this works well as a whole group, as in Morning Meeting. Ask one question to the group, and have each student tell their answer in complete sentences, using words from the question to start their answers.

It's a good idea to review how they'll be starting their answers:
"My favorite food is..."
"I can show kindness by..."
"I could help someone who forgot his lunch by..."
"An animal that would NOT make a good pet is..."

As they are practicing, make sure the questions are interesting and fun, so they will be more interested in sharing their answers! (Plus, it's fun for the rest of us to hear their answers!)

Be sure to compliment those who elaborate on their answers, rather than simply one or two words. This is our end goal!

"My favorite food is spaghetti."
or
"My favorite food is spaghetti, with meatballs and lots of cheese on top."

"I can show kindness by helping."
or
"I can show kindness by helping someone who doesn't understand their math, or gets hurt on the playground."

"An animal that would NOT make a good pet is an elephant."
or
"An animal that would NOT make a good pet is an elephant because it would cost too much to feed it, and it wouldn't fit in my room!"

See what I mean?
Here's where you add the paper!

Here's my little trick: have them meet with a friend and tell what they're going to write, word for word! Seriously, if they are going to write the language, they need to be able to speak it first! In fact, when they're first starting this skill, I might have them meet with a few partners before they sit down with the paper. (This is a trick I use with many aspects of writing... tell it first!)

I usually make a point to meet with a few children that I anticipate might struggle with this.

Once I get those "strugglers" going, I'll check in with others to keep them on track.

Once they're ready, it's time for them to practice this skill without the guidance. It's a great way to start the day: post a question for the day, and have them answer it in complete sentences while you take attendance and lunch count.

It's still a good idea to have them practice orally with a friend before writing.

Then, after they've written, sharing is encouraged!

Going back to revise after sharing is also encouraged!

I find the best way to encourage children to answer questions fully is to share the best ones. I'll go through the papers, find some that are well done, and share those to the whole class. I make sure I choose several different examples that show a variety of ways to answer.

I happen to have plenty of questions, based on fun daily holidays:

Each month is also available separately:

The July edition is free if you want to give it a try!

## Look at all you get!

Each month has a page to display, a page to write on (with the same question), plus, a link to a related Boom Learning Daily Trivia activity! (Great for centers, fast finishers, and Gifted and Talented challenges!)

Plus, these make great backgrounds for virtual learning!
(Although, we're hoping we won't need those again!)