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> Math >Review of "Five
Times Five Is Not Ten" by Susan Greenwald, M.A. Ed.
" Five Times
Five Is Not Ten" by Susan Greenwald.
Learn those times with fun and rhymes!
Order it from amazon.com
This
is the second book (that is currently available) I'm reviewing
with strategies and practice for learning the times tables.
There
are (too) many people who believe that since we have calculators,
"rote" memorization is a waste of time; it doesn't
use "higher thinking skills."
Balderdash.
Every
day I work with people who are at least inconvenienced, and
at times truly hampered by the simple fact that they haven't
mastered the times tables. They can't develop or use those
higher thinking skills because they're still trying to figure
out the times tables.
In fact,
I opened the book at work, since it was sent to that address.
"Five times five is not ten." Hmmm... Was that a
patronizing title?
I put
the book up to take home.
Within
the next two hours, two students had glibly stated that "five
times five is ten." I took the book out and set it on
the table.
I realized
that, indeed, "five times five" is a benchmark for
internalizing what multiplication is all about, and that the
title was on the mark. It's also consistent with the content,
which integrates multiplication with other math skills, which
I consider a real strength.
One of
the more egregious pedagogical practices (in my notsohumble
opinion) in math instruction is for skills to be taught in
isolation until mastery... and then left behind. We don't
have time for review, after all, especially with students
who are already behind. So, the students pass our math class...
and then bomb the next assessment of their overall skills
because they can only do one kind of problem at a time. So...
the next teacher compresses the curricululm still more (and,
good heavens! we don't have time to learn the times tables!).
This
book makes the connection between adding and multiplying 
and then includes mixtures of multiplication and addition.
Some students may require more practice in isolation before
integration  but do integrate! That's *exactly* what will
prevent college students from writing "1/10" when
multiplying 1/5 times 1/5.
Parents
and teachers should absolutely spend time in the beginning
of the book, which outlines multisensory strategies that should
be applied throughout the book.
This book's
approach could be frustrating for some students with learning
disabilities that would make the infusion of 8 + 7 and 8 X
7 and 8  7 an overwhelming visual and/or cognitive endeavor.
However, for many students, it will demonstrate the importance
of *thinking* about the operation they're being asked to perform,
instead of taking that part for granted, and provide the chance
to practice that application. One adaptation would be to practice
the facts in isolation more before mixing them, and then to
only mix two operations, then the third.
The book
includes many strategies that incorporate visualization and
verbal thinking. For instance, the strategy for learning the
nines tables involves using auditory cues of "pretending
to add." This tells you what the answer starts with.
Thus, "9 + 5" is Fourtee....40.... and then... the
next number is what you would add to four to *get* nine. So,
nine times nine is Forty  Five. Another mnemonic is: to help
remember 5 x 5, think "I see 2 5s.... " 25.
I think
many students would benefit from spending more time exploring
a time table in order first, to help reinforce the number
sense and concepts of multiplication, but that's an easy adaptation.
And, of course, learning the times tables should not be done
in isolation; it should be an ongoing project integrated into
nonrote learning.
This book
has many other strategies I had not heard of, with lots of
valuable review and practice. It is well worth adding to your
arsenal of weapons so that more students will be absolutely
confident that five times five is *not* ten.
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Susan Jones, Resource Room. All Rights Reserved.
