Target Finds and Teaching Multiplication

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I went to Target last week and found some great things in the dollar section (love that section!)

(Two small easy reader board books and two 50-piece packs of Mini-Easter Erasers!)

I love to find books in the dollar section at Target! Not only are they cheap, they’re often really interesting books, especially history and science books for boys, and are perfect for guided reading. During my recent trip there were quite a few of these small board books. These were the only two I purchased this time, but I’m sure I’ll be back to purchase the rest soon. I use these books for my emerging readers. They’re perfect because a lot of sight word/easy reader books don’t have much plot to them, and these books are easy enough to read, yet have interesting plots and often familiar characters.  Beginning readers LOVE getting one of these books to read!

As for the mini-erasers, they can be used for SO many different things! One thing I use them for are counters or manipulatives for centers. 

I’m going to show you a great way to use these counters for teaching multiplication.  The only time I have taught multiplication is at the end of the school year in second grade or when I have some kiddos who are ready and need the extra enrichment. At the end of the school year though, it is always so exciting to get to this oh-so important stage!

Here’s how I introduce multiplication:

  1. I begin teaching students that multiplication is simply repeated addition and combining groups. When teaching multiplication facts, I always begin at 0 and go up. I go in the order of (0, 1, 2, 5, 10, 11, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 12). At the end of the school year we don’t always get through all of those, but we definitely touch upon the basics.
  2. Anyway, before I begin I give each child a multiplication mat. You can use the ones I’ve created here (print and laminate) or use plastic rings that hold drink cans together (I know these aren’t easy to collect these days, but every now and then I’ll buy something with them. I’ve saved them over the years for this exact purpose. You can always ask everyone you know to please save them as well!). I also give each child a set of counters. The exact number changes depending on the facts we are studying each day.
  3. Beginning with 0, students are asked to figure out what 0x0 equals. They make 0 groups of 0 using their counters. We work our way through all 13 facts (0x0 to 0x12) and record these on the board and discuss the patterns we notice. We continue this task with all facts. Once students get the hang of it, we work out a few together, and then I let them figure out the rest. Once we figure out the pattern (such as anything x5 goes up by 5 each time), we just do the math in our heads.

Here’s an example of what this looks like with the plastic drink rings:

Whenever I introduce a multiplication fact, I always show the corresponding School House Rock videos on YouTube. (If your school blocks YouTube, I believe you can purchase DVDs of the multiplication series.) I never saw these as a kid, but when teaching I thought my kiddos might enjoy them.  I tried it out once, and they LOVED them, so it is something I’ve stuck with.  Kiddos constantly ask to re-watch the videos. It really does help, and I’ll admit the songs get stuck in my head, too!

For an example, here’s the video for x5 Facts.