Multiplication Charts to Increase Fact Fluency

using multiplication charts to increase fact fluency

There is one thing I had my students do every single week that made a HUGE difference in their multiplication fact fluency…

Multiplication Charts—Every Week!

Starting about a month into the school year, I taught my students how to make their own multiplication charts. And guess what? Once they got the hang of it, we made it a weekly ritual. Every Monday, like clockwork, my kiddos created a brand new chart. Then, they had it to use throughout the week when learning new math skills.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. “But Chelsea, my students don’t know their facts!” 🫠🙃 Trust me, I hear you! This is one of the biggest complaints I hear from teachers. But here’s the scoop: not knowing their facts isn’t a deal breaker for being successful in math. Seriously, it’s not. AND believe it or not…being able to skip count and create a multiplication chart will improve their numerical fluency.

Getting started with multiplication charts

I use blank graph paper from the STAAR reference materials (Texas State test). Nothing fancy, but it’s what our students in Texas are allowed to have during their state test. We start doing multiplication charts early on in the year, so by the time that test comes, they know exactly what to do when they see the graph paper.

When you first introduce students to creating their own multiplication chart, do it with them and model how you want it done. I always start with the 1s, 2s, 5s, and 10s. Those are easy facts to knock out! Do them vertically going down and then fill them in horizontally across.

For facts students may not be as familiar with, model what tools they can use to help themselves find the next fact. Seriously, anything is better than sitting and staring into the sky and waiting for the next fact to appear… I’m a big fan of fingers! They are my favorite math manipulative!

Another good strategy is counting dots. Put the number of dots you are listing facts for (if you are doing your multiples of 4, put 4 dots at the top of the column.) Use the counting dots to count the next multiple.

making a multiplication chart to help with fact fluency

Having a multiples song to sing is another fabulous strategy! There are tons of options out there for songs, from old school nursery rhymes to modern day songs. These ones are my favorite.

Create a new multiplication chart at the beginning of each week, then allow students to use it as needed for the skills you are working on! Teaching multi-digit multiplication? Get out those multiplication charts! Making equivalent fractions? Multiplication charts everyone!

For the first few weeks, you may need to do some additional modeling depending on your classes needs. You may also want to check together the harder facts (multiples of 6, 7, 8, and 9). I usually give students around 7-8 minutes on Monday to work on their chart and then a few more minutes on Tuesday if needed. They will get faster and faster the more you do it, I promise! Pretty soon, everyone will be done within 5 minutes on a Monday!

This isn’t a solution for all your fluency woes, but I firmly believe we have to give students the tools they need to be successful. Teach them to make their own multiplication chart. And do it over and over again. And use it for the skills you are teaching.

Looking for more multiplication fact fluency ideas? Head over to the blog all about building multiplication fact fluency.


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