# Have You Been Using Flashcards Wrong?

I sat in on a parent conference this past year with a student and her teacher. The child was having difficulty learning multiplication facts. The teacher told the parent several things one of which was to use flashcards and put the ones she knew in one stack and the ones she didn’t in another stack. In other words she was prompting the child to memorize the facts.

Of course you know I interjected how the child might learn better with the flashcards by layering the ones she knew with the ones she didn’t know. For example, if she had learned all of her 2s, she could then place all of the corresponding 4s facts behind the 2s facts. Then she could learn how to double her 2s facts to get her 4s facts.

When studying multiplication, it lends itself so well to student led discussion about patterns they notice among the facts. For students to see these patterns it is essential for us to line the facts up in such a way that they can see the patterns. Normally, we hand students a HUGE multiplication chart and children see this and feel overwhelmed.

SEE OVERWHELMING CHART BELOW

Why not break this chart down so that students can see the patterns more readily.

If students only see part of the chart, then the patterns are more readily recognized and students are less overwhelmed. Students may also benefit from seeing patterns on a table like the following in which the patterns are more explicitly explained at the top. Could this be the reason students struggle with learning their facts? They don’t see the patterns. Doing something this simple could allow students to make sense of multiplication and find patterns in the numbers…especially those students who need extra support.

I have put together a packet that can help teachers (and possibly parents) use flashcards more efficiently with their students. In this packet, patterns in multiplication are unveiled and explicitly explained so that teachers can teach their students with patterns–not just by memorization.

Ways to use patterns for all multiplication facts are explained in this packet. There are teacher notes, flashcards, charts, and tables all organized by helping strategy. One could even use the teacher notes as a guide to plan lessons when beginning to teach multiplication. This pack would also be great for intervention with those students who just aren’t picking up the strategies to learn multiplication facts.

Take a moment to check out this product and consider teaching multiplication with patterns! 🙂

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