In a previous post, I shared information about the unique mnemonic strategies developed by Alan Walker of Multiplication.com. I purchased the materials for use with a fourth grader who has been unsuccessful in memorizing any addition facts, much less multiplication. Due to holidays and other scheduling issues, the student has only had three sessions of about 20 minutes each using this approach. In that time, he has memorized the mnemonics for each numeral from 1 to 9 and knows FOUR facts! Khalil and I are obviously really pleased! I think he was amazed that he really only had to memorize 36 facts (excluding ones, zeros and repeats; with all the practice on multiplication.com for his two’s times tables, Khalil no longer struggles with 1s and 0s! ). His confidence has improved, the stories for each fact are appealing to him, and if we didn’t have the tyranny of inappropriate homework, he could be a lot farther along.
The back story: I am still unhappy about his homework. I do know there’s no easy solution for kids who are years below grade level. However, I think that if he could work on underlying skills, Khalil has a chance at catching up. He did move up to grade level when we focused on reading for two years; he shot forward when I taught him basic phonological and phonics skills. But I suspect that Khalil has a math disability, based upon how intervention-resistant he is. He is now being considered for a Tier 3 intervention in the Response to Instruction program. As I feared, all these school frustrations have led to some significant behavior problems in the regular classroom. Khalil is adorable but is getting a reputation as aggressive and defiant.
I’ll keep you posted!