Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Making Times Tables Less Troublesome

(MS) - As any teacher can attest, getting kids back into the swing of things after summer vacation is akin to pulling teeth. And when it comes to certain subjects, doing so is more like a root canal. Among the subjects that students typically find most difficult is multiplication. Fourth, fifth and sixth grade teachers often cite the multiplication tables as one of the biggest sources of struggle for their students.

One of the easiest ways to help a child excel in school, whether it's mastering the multiplication tables or enhancing reading comprehension, is to make learning enjoyable. As we grow older, the teachers we seem to remember most are the ones who made the subject matter seem compelling, opened our eyes to new ways of understanding difficult topics, or those who used unconventional tools and strategies that made learning that much easier. With this in mind, there are several ways to give your student a boost by changing the way he or she looks at learning. Here are some tips from the education experts who created Learning Wrap-ups:

· Set daily attainable goals. Like adults, kids respond better when they see results. If a student continues to work hard at school but doesn't see immediate results, that student is more likely to throw in the towel on his studies. In addition, with more difficult topics such as the multiplication tables, it's important for teachers to provide daily "check-ups" to make sure kids aren't falling behind.

With "10 Days to Multiplication Mastery" from Learning Wrap-Ups, teachers and parents alike can use the workbook to track their student's progress on a daily basis. Students can follow the steps in the classroom and at home, and then see the fruits of their labor for themselves. By charting their own progress when filling in a basic 12 x 12 multiplication chart both horizontally and vertically, kids gain a greater confidence when it comes to the multiplication tables, as each correct answer gives them credit for learning two facts instead of just one.

"['10 Days to Multiplication Mastery'] has helped my child very much," says Cindy Burton, whose daughter has some learning disabilities that affect retention. "Over the summer she forgot every one of her times tables. But by the end of three weeks she was whipping through those babies. We started doing long division and she said, 'Math is so much easier now.' This, of course, has really helped to build her confidence and she is doing much better in all of her subjects."

· Combine different methods that are educational and fun: Getting kids excited about their progress in the classroom can also be easier when teachers add a little fun into their lesson plans. The creators of Learning Wrap-Ups have been making learning fun for 25 years. Developed by teachers to help students master the basics in elementary subjects ranging from Math, Vocabulary, Pre-Algebra, Sight Words, Spanish, and more, Learning Wrap-Ups act as a portable, hands-on alternative to flashcards. The student simply wraps a string from the problem on the left side to the answer on the right. When done correctly, the string will cover the lines on the back, for instant self-correction. Hands-on, fun and self-correcting, Wrap-Ups, when combined with a step-by-step lesson plan for difficult subjects like multiplication tables, show kids they know more than they think they do.

Educators who have used these kits in their classroom have found them valuable in a variety of ways and for a variety of subjects. Results have included improved test scores to reducing the time spent in preparing lessons and correcting assignments. Kits can even include Audio CDs with the "Wrap-Up Rap," which randomly generates questions pertaining to each lesson plan three times. By the time a student takes the third randomized test, chances are he'll have learned his stuff, and done so in a way that was both fun and valuable.

· Share your experiences with others: Because so many teachers find their students struggling with multiplication tables, it's important for parents and teachers to share both their successes and their failures. If you've found workbooks such as "10 Days To Multiplication Mastery" to be effective with your students, by all means let your colleagues and parents of your students know. Parents should speak to a child's teacher or administrators about exciting ways to spark interest in school or learning. If a teacher encourages students to use flashcards, see if that teacher would consider incorporating Learning Wrap-Ups into the curriculum. Discuss with friends and fellow parents the ways in which they encourage their children to learn.

For more information about Learning Wrap-Ups and workbooks, visit  http://www.learningwrapups.com/, or call (800) 992-4966 to find a retailer in your area.

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