April 5, 2016

Times Tales~ Teaching Times Tables with Stories {Product Review}

My oldest is an auditory learner and can quickly memorize stories and songs. I have been trying to incorporate this into math (where it's needed the most), but was sort of slow on doing it. Enter our review of Times Tales from The Trigger Memory Co.---It looked like it was going to be just what I wanted!
Times Tales by The Trigger Memory Co. Product Review

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Product Summary

Times Tales is a product of The Trigger Memory Co. It is designed to be an innovative and successful way for children, even as young as 5 to learn their times tables within about an hour of practice. Using silly stories and memorable characters, the children are able to learn the facts from the upper times tables which frustrate so many other children.

The facts taught are:
3×6, 3×7, 3×8, 3×9
4×6, 4×7, 4×8, 4×9
6×6, 6×7, 6×8, 6×9
7×7, 7×8, 7×9
8×8, 8×9

Using a mixture of videos, game show style quizzes, and worksheets, your students will be able to tell you the answers to the math facts before you know it--they could know them in an hour or less! The program is available in physical form and digital downloads.

You can watch this Times Tales DVD 90 Second Introduction Video to give you an even better idea of what to expect.

We were given the the Times Tales digital version ($19.95) to use with Little Britches (Age 10).

How Did We Use This Product?

The file arrived as a download which I downloaded immediately. It is a LARGE file and takes several minutes to download on my Windows 8 (Chrome). If I had thought about it in advance, I would have gone ahead and saved it to a flashdrive, but for the time being, I left it on my hard drive for easy access. Once the file was downloaded, it was easy to open and very self-explanatory for use. The program was set up into two video parts. The worksheets were available on two separate pdf files. Everything was clearly labelled.

Because this was upper times tables multiplication, I chose to do this with Little Britches (Age 10) and not Baby Britches. I had Little Britches just start watching the program at his desk while I worked with Baby Britches on other things. However, I quickly discovered that the program was catching Baby Britches eye. It really caught my attention when during the "gameshow" review of the stories, Baby Britches (who was simply sitting and hearing) was saying the answers more quickly than Little Britches! At this point, I allowed Baby Britches to watch the rest of the program with him.

The premise of the program is simple. The student is introduced to 6 different characters which represent 6 different numbers:

3-->the butterfly
4-->the chair
6-->the 6th grade class
7-->Mrs. Week and her husband Mr. Week
8-->Mrs. Snowman and her husband Mr. Snowman
9-->the treehouse

9 is the treehouse

Each character contains the number in their design to help visualize who and what they represented. The characters were then each put into a story and through the sequencing of the story, the child learned the multiplication fact. For example:

The 6th Grade class (#6) raised butterflies (#3). At 1 pm they released 8 butterflies. 

See the fact? 6 x 3 =18

Each story is just like that with the emphasis that they MUST tell the story in ORDER for it to work. Part of the program is for the child to retell the story at the prompts. This is a great review for them and for you to make sure they are remembering it in the correct order.

Even though he was only 5, the stories were presented very simply and he caught on very quickly. The first activity for each part of the program is a crossword puzzle where the story itself are the questions. Things like "the number 9 is represented by what character". Helps them internalize the information.

Included in the rest of the pdf:
Flashcards with the characters and the facts
Flashcards with just the math facts
Reverse flashcards showing division

Practice worksheet using the characters for the math facts
Test using just the numbers for facts
Roll the dice game: roll two dice, tell the story that matches the fact shown.

Here are some photos from the boys using the product:

using the characters practice test

Little Britches working on the test

Playing the Dice Game
As of today we know these stories backwards and forwards and frequently reference them during math class for each boy. They quickly can fill in the answer they need, whether seeking the multiplication problem, or working it backwards with division. It was suggested that you wait a week before introducing the second half of the program--but my boys had part 1 memorized in just 30 minutes--so we started the second part the next day! No trouble!

What Are Our Thoughts on This Product?

It is easy to sum it up...WE. LOVE. IT!! The boys enjoyed the silly stories, and the "game show" reviews. They quickly worked through the worksheets, and had fun with the dice game. The upper times tables for 6-9 no longer bring exasperation and despair! They simply summon up the story that matches what they need--usually simply remembering the character that matches each number--and *poof* they have the answers they need.

Yes, the characters are...silly. Simple line drawings brought to life. But it really doesn't matter because it's the story that is being learned. The program is very well done and simple to do.

My only real recommendation--have each step of the program easily found. Sometimes the boys just wanted to review a story, but we had to play the whole thing and skip it forward to where we wanted to go. It would be nice if you could simply click on "story" or "games" or "review".

We didn't have any trouble with downloading or playing the product. The only snag was when we wanted to print, I sometimes had to click print more than once to get it to work. And some pages would get printed the first time, and others had to have a couple attempts. But all in all, that was minor as I was always able to get it to print eventually.

Will we continue to use this?
Oh yeah. Once you learn the stories, I don't think you ever forget them. And if you do, you can simply replay the stories and redo the activities. I did move the HUGE file to a flash drive because it's so big that I didn't want it to take up space on my computer's hard drive.

Would I Recommend This Product?

Yes, yes and yes! We never planned to use this for anyone except Little Britches (age 10), but it ended up being something that Baby Britches (age 5) just naturally gravitated too with phenomenal success! Now that they know the stories, they both help each other with the recollection. And it's better than a flashcard because they remember the story much more clearly and can work it both directions--whether they need the answer, or the factors! I really think it's perfect for nearly all learning types with the mix of video, audio, worksheets, and the game!

You can give the product a try for free! Free Times Tales Sample 9's Download

Want to Know More?

We used the Times Tales from The Trigger Memory Co. with great success! Why don't you hop on over to see what the rest of the crew felt about it?!
Times Tales by the The Trigger Memory Co REVIEW
I am so happy that we had a chance to review this product, because it was everything it promoted, and it has been a great asset to our math work for both of the boys! Now the boys want them to do the 5's and the rest of the 4's!

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