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Tuesday, April 5, 2016
Schoolhouse Crew Review: The Trigger Memory Co.
My 9 and 10 year old boys have had a terrible time memorizing their multiplication tables. We have been over and over them and nothing we have tried has done any good. I was very excited to have a chance to review Times Tales from The Trigger Memory Co. to see if it would do the trick.
Times Tales teaches the upper multiplication tables by turning the numbers into characters and teaching a story about them. There are two components to the program: PDF worksheets and a video. The video is split into 2 parts lasting about 30 minutes each. Part 1 teaches the upper 3's and 4's and Part 2 teaches the upper 6,7,8, and 9's. Hannah, the host of the video, guides the children through 6 different steps to learn their multiplication tables. In the first step students learn the characters and the number they represent. In Step 2 they learn the stories. Step 3 is a story quiz. In Step 4 the student tells the story. Step 5 are practice flash cards and Step 6 does the flashcards again without showing the characters as the numbers. After the 6 steps there is a division challenge. When the student completes all of the steps in the video, there is a written test that they can take to show their mastery of the times tables. If they have trouble with any of the steps on the video, they are reminded to go back and review the stories again.
It is recommended that after completing Part 1 you wait a week before viewing the second part. In that time period the student can review Part 1 or complete some of the PDF worksheets that are included. Since the students have already learned the characters and the number they represent in Part 1, The Part 2 video starts with the stories, followed by a story quiz, having the students tell the story, the practice flashcards, and the flashcards without the characters. There is also a division challenge in Part 2 and a written test.
Times Tales can be purchased as a digital download or as a DVD.
We received the Digital Download. Once I received the download link I could either download the entire file at once or download each part at a time. I downloaded the entire file. It was a zipped file with both parts of the Times Tales videos, the Part 1 and 2 printables and an answer key. The video files are very large so it took several hours to download. Once it was finished the files needed to be extracted. Once inside the new folder I had no trouble viewing the videos but I could not get the printables to print. I kept getting an error message. I was able to go back to my download link and download the separate printables files. From there I was able to print them out with no problem.
I spread each part of Times Tales over our school week. On day one we watched the entire thing. On Day 2 we watched just the stories and completed one of the worksheet pages. On day 3 we watched step 5 of the video (the flashcards) and did another worksheet. On the fourth day we watched the last step (the flashcards without the symbols) and completed the written test.
I could not believe how quickly Anthony (10 years old) picked up on these Times Tales! When we watched the video the first time, he very quickly figured out the purpose of the characters and the stories and could answer the questions when we paused the video. He could even answer the division questions. Christian (9) did not pick it up so quickly. He struggled to remember the stories and got frustrated that Anthony got it so quickly! By the end of the week though he too had learned his facts.
I think it is a great concept and it definitely helped the boys learn their multiplication tables quickly. The animation is well done and the stories are cute and easy to remember. Some children may pick it up more quickly then others but you can watch it over again as many times as they need. I do wish there was a way that you could easily find each of the stories in the video in case your child needs a quick review of just one or two of the facts. The printables are a great way to reinforce what your child has learned. I would like to see a cheat sheet of the stories included for us mamas to quickly glance at if we need a little refresher of the stories.
To see what my Crew Mates had to say stop by the Crew Blog!