I tutor Math. Kids struggle in upper grades, often for no other reason than someone dropped the ball in the lower grades. Math is cumulative. It builds on what you learned the year before. Therefore, every child I meet hears me talk about times tables and how to learn them easily.
Here's my speech:
How many of you have a tv? Good - most of you. Ok, how many of you have a tv with a remote control? Ok. On your remote control is a button called mute M-U-T-E. At my house we call it the "shut up button." (Those commercials are loud!)
Here's what I want you to do. Put your flashcards on the table, next to the remote. You're sitting there watching iCarly, and a commercial comes on. Pick up the remote, mute the sound, and flip through your flash cards during the commercial, about 2 or 3 minutes. Oh look, the show's back on. Set your cards down, turn the sound back up, watch iCarly. Next commercial, do it again.
If you will go through your flash cards every time there is a commercial on, I promise that you will know them all within 2 weeks.
(end of speech)
I used flashcards to memorize various formulae for a test. I flipped through them when I was at a red light, at a basketball game (when my son was on the bench) or in line at the post office. We're not talking higher level thinking, just memorizing.
Times tables flashcards are about $2 at Walmart in the book & magazine section, but I saw some in the $1 section of Target last week. I may go buy up every pack they have so I can hand them out...
What good advice will you share with children today?