Why is it necessary?
Once children have a solid understanding of place value and are ready to manipulate numbers, instant recall of times tables facts is vital to enhancing their speed and fluency in mathematics. Each year, children would come into year 4 with differing times tables knowledge. It was difficult to know where each child was at and how best to help them. For this reason, I've been keen to have something in place which tracks times tables knowledge so we know what children can do and, more importantly, what they are struggling with and help them. For the last few years, we've experimented with various reward schemes similar to something my previous school did and this year we've launched the finished product (if you like!) across KS2.
How does it work?
Based on a suggestion made by Stephen Lockyer at TeachMeet Sussex, we've created an order of learning linked to different awards. Children learn the multiplication and division facts linked to the times table they are working on. On a given day each week, they complete a test with 40 questions. In Year 4, they have 4 minutes to complete it however the time given can easily be adapted for different year groups. We decided 6 seconds per question was long enough for them to think and write the answer but short enough for them to not be able to count up on their fingers.
When the time is up, children swap tests and mark someone else's. To help with this, we created booklets of answers to all the tests however once some children have finished the tracker they can help with marking. They move onto the next test when they get all the questions right and they revise all previously learning times tables before completing an award. We encourage children to keep all their tests so they can see themselves improving even in the weeks when they don't get them all right. Children can monitor their progress on an individual tracker (we use stickers for this) and teachers can update a class tracker each week. This takes around 10-15 minutes each week, especially once the children are in the habit of it.
What do you need to use the tracker?
Firstly, you need to download all the resources in this free Google Drive Folder. These include:
- All the tests (and an editable version),
- A tracking card for children to keep (and an editable version),
- An editable letter to send out to parents with all the information,
- A class tracker for teachers to use.
Also, some stickers are useful to keep children motivated. We use these diddi dots on the tracking cards and these stickers (click the links) for when Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum and Diamond awards have been completed.
Children can practise their times tables for free on TimesTables.me.uk by ticking the correct boxes and choosing the appropriate settings. We also use Times Tables Rockstars to compliment the tracker. A feature on Times Tables Rockstars means you can split a rock band (year group or class) into five sections. We've named these sections after the awards and scheduled the appropriate times table to each section. Children are put in the correct section then are practising the correct multiplication and division facts when they play online.
|Times Tables Rockstars Schedule|