Retired teacher and grandmother Kathy Simpson reviews Times Tales, a technique that helps students memorize their multiplication tables.
When I first saw the title “Times Tales,” I was a tad confused and my curiosity soared. I first thought, “This resource must be about solving multiplication word problems for the Upper Grades.”
But… once I started to take a look at Times Tales, I realized that I was wrong! Actually, I realized just how very wrong I was as I looked through the supplemental workbook. The workbook asks students to learn various stories with characters. As I perused a little more, I saw that students were being asked to answer questions about details of the stories. There were also questions supporting higher order thinking skills as well as write their answers in the workbook. So this resource really integrates Language Arts and Math! What more can you ask for?
My curiosity was really racing! I popped the Times Tales DVD into the computer and I saw firsthand just how fabulous this product is for learning multiplication facts. Each story uses number characters. They consist of Butterfly, Chair, the Sixth grade class, Mrs. Week, Mrs. Snowman, and Treehouse. The narrator introduces these characters to the students. The same characters are also introduced in the supplemental Times Tales Workbook.
Characters and Stories
Each character represents a specific number. The characters all have cartoon representations that resemble the number they stand for. The Butterfly represents 3, the chair 4 and so on!
These characters are then used to tell stories, which use visuals for the visual learner and also hits the auditory modality. Students see the characters while they hear the corresponding the story. For a visual learner, this is an especially helpful technique to reinforce concepts.
I was still a bit confused, but then the stories started…
Mrs. Week sat on a Chair and fished. She caught 2 boots and 8 fish. Although it may not be clear to you just from reading this story, this sentence actually helps young students remember that 7 x 4 = 28. Now, my grandson, who is going into fifth grade, already knows his multiplication tables.
But if your child or student is struggling with their multiplication concepts and skills, this is perfect for them. The visuals for the Times Tales stories are super. I am visual learner and I kept visualizing and saying the story to myself all week after I saw these stories. It was catchy and I keep thinking about some of the stories over and over again. It’s kind of like that tune or song that gets stuck in your head on repeat! You can just imagine how helpful it is for students struggling to remember their math facts.
The images for 7 x 4 = 28 and the story that goes with it support memorization of multiplication facts. It is really quite genius!!
After hearing each of the math facts stories, you are required to go through part one first and be able to retell the stories in order, answer questions and write about the story. These exercises are all a part of the memorization of the facts.
When you purchase the supplemental workbook, you receive quiz shows to go along with the DVD, a beat the clock game, and a mini flipbook. Put all this together, taking at least a week for Part One and another week for Part Two, and your students will master their multiplication facts!
5 reasons I LOVE this resource and would recommend Times Tales for home or school:
- It is repetitive.
Each of the stories is repeated in the flipbook, on the DVD and in the workbook. The questions asked on the DVD and workbook expects the student to retell the story using the correct sequential order. The questions provided support recalling details to jog memorization. Many questions asked are also opinions, which allow students to take ownership of the activity or story.
- It touches on different modalities, which is what I love most about this product.
Many different modalities need to be presented to differentiate learning for different students. Not all students learn in the same way. This resource supports the auditory, verbal (writing) and visual learning styles. You can certainly add a kinesthetic piece if you create and act out the stories, too!
- Times Tales has various components from which to learn.
- There are built-in quizzes.
- Some good old-fashioned memorization is included along with all the other concepts.
There are timed quizzes where answers are written. Many children need to write answers down to understand the facts.
This resource is brilliant with a capital B! In fact I wish my own kiddos were taught multiplication in this way!
About the All-Star Blogger
Kathy is a retired 1st and 2nd grade looping teacher, who taught full time and part time in her hometown of Springfield, PA for 30+ years. She is wife, mom of three grown children and as of today a Mimi of three with one on the way. Kathy volunteers in her daughter’s Kindergarten Special Education classroom weekly. She loves to create, write and has an obsession for shoes and chocolate.