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Quick Times

I am always looking for different strategies when working with my remedial college students since many of the ways they were taught to do math aren't working for them.  I came across this "Quick Times" method and thought it would be another approach I could share with my mathphobics for multiplying.  They love anything that is different, quick and makes them look astute when doing mathematics.

Let's assume we have the multiplication problem of 41 x 12.  In the Quick Times method, first start by multiplying the first digit of 41 by the first digit of 12 to get the first digit of our answer.  We then multiply the second digit of 41 by the second digit of 12 as seen below to get the last digit of our answer (the ones place).

Now we need to find the middle digit of the product.  This is done by multiplying the outside digits, then the inside digits, and adding those two products together as shown below.

This quick method will only work when multiplying two digit numbers by two digit numbers, but it does cause the students to do mental math.  My students like the challenge of doing all of the computation in their heads.  Let's try another one that is a little different.  Let's do 63 x 41.  Again we multiply the first digit of each number and then the second digit of each number to get the first digits of the answer and the last digit of the answer.


As before, multiply the outside digits, then the inside digits, and add the two products together.
Now we must put the 18 into the middle spot, but there is only room for one digit in the tens place.  YIKES!!  What do we do now?  Very easy....because we can only have one digit where the question mark is, we must regroup (carry) the one in the tens place of the 18 and then add it to the 24.

Have you figured out the final answer?  It is.....

You are probably thinking the old method works so much better, but that is only because that is the method you are use to using.  Why not try the ones below using the Quick Times method and see if you get the correct answer.  Use the old method or a calculator to check your answers or go the the answer page above.

a)  36 x 21       b)  24 x  12      c)  48 x 29       d)  59 x 18       e)  63 x 13     


Why I Use Tailwind

Maybe you have heard of Tailwind and maybe you haven't. To set the record straight, it is not a wind blowing in the direction of travel of a vehicle or aircraft or a wind blowing from behind. It is a Pinterest and Instagram Marketing, Scheduling and Analytics Tool.

I was first introduced to it on the Teachers Pay Teachers blog. Since I use Pinterest (I have 84 different boards, some that are collaborative boards.), I am always pinning new ideas, teaching strategies, Ohio State stuff (Go Buckeyes!), ideas for my college classes, etc., I decided to try using Tailwind instead of individually pinning each resource from my TPT store or blog. Before deciding if the paid plan was right for me, I was able to schedule up to 100 pins on Pinterest, and 30 posts on Instagram for free . What was nice is that there was no time limit on that free trial! It allowed me to schedule up to 100 pins on Pinterest, and 30 posts on Instagram while I could watch my analytics and the number of repins my items were receiving before deciding if the paid plan was worth the money.

I saw several benefits right away! More traffic was coming to my Pinterest boards as well as to my Teachers Pay Teachers StoreI therefore decided to invest in the annual Plus plan, a pay-as-you-go plan. This plan allows me to schedule 400 pins a month.  I am aware that pinning everything all at once isn’t ideal; consequently, it's important to space pins out a little so I'm not overwhelming my followers. Pinterest has even suggested that too much pinning in a short time period could be viewed as “spammy”, potentially hurting my rankings in search results and feeds. With Tailwind, I have the ability to create my own posting schedule, and I can use interval pinning to space out my pins so "spamming" doesn't happen. I can set a time period between when each image that is pinned anywhere from 10 minutes to 90 days apart. Tailwind even gives me the best times and days to post.

Here are some ways I am currently using Tailwind:
  1. To schedule pins
  2. To know when the best time to pin is using the Smart Calendar
  3. To schedule multiple pins to different boards at the same time
  4. To use interval pinning
  5. To use the Tailwind Analytics - to know which are my best pins and where my repins are going
  6. To find my best pins using Pin Inspector
I know this sounds like a long advertisement for Tailwind, but I am so excited about the many benefits and results of this service, I just had to share it with you, my readers. If you are interested in joining Tailwind, I have a Tailwind tribe called Math Counts where any teacher who teaches 4th grade through high school can post math resources for free. Each person in the tribe adds their own pins in the queue. Once you see the pins in the queue, you can add them to your scheduled pins in Tailwind so your resources keep getting repinned to different boards. Tailwind has said that you do not have to be a paying member of Tailwind to be in a Tribe. Here is the link if you are interested in joining Math Counts. Just copy and paste it into any search engine.

https://www.tailwindapp.com/tribe/join?d=eyJpdiI6IlNKaVwvY1FaN2dCSlVzOTV1dE85TmNBPT0iLCJ2YWx1ZSI6Ilk4NElMK2huTGpXWTQ4eVlOeE5PSjVFVDZDQ2R0WlNjOE9kVWFBVzFBbXo5UzMyazAybnA4MlJVWE5wNGlVa0xDcjFzcDJQSnFLYzdZajA2dnlscituSTZQOVUyUVdWSUVaTXMzK2FIVHBFPSIsIm1hYyI6IjA3OTk3MjZkN2MyNzE3MTExZTdjMjQ3NTlhMTM2MWRhNTFlMzg3OTcyYTQ0YTM0NWJiNzI5NWIwMDU4MDEyYjYifQ%3D%3D

If you decide to join my tribe (which costs you nothing), you will also get a free month ($15 credit) if you ever decide to join the Plus plan. 

Getting started with Tailwind is easy. In the members area are five training videos that walk you through everything step-by-step and in much more detail than this blog post. There’s also an in-depth FAQ section, and if you get stuck with anything, their customer service is responsive and helpful. All I can say is that it makes running my Pinterest account much easier; I can be more strategic in my Pinterest marketing efforts plus it saves me a ton of time!  I hope you will check it out.

A Go Figure Debut for a Home-School Teacher/Mom Who Is New!

Erin taught at the elementary level in a public school in the suburbs of Chicago for about ten years. Currently she is homeschooling her three children (ages 3, 4, and 6). She says it is a wonderful blessing to be doing what she loves most with her own kids! She also teaches a few classes once a week at the homeschool co-op that she is a part of. She claims that teaching is in her blood, and she cannot imagine her life without teaching in some capacity.

Whether at school or homeschooling, Erin’s classroom is student-centered and child-friendly. She always displays student work, has materials easily accessible to the kids, exhibits bulletin boards and posters that are meaningful and helpful, and creates an atmosphere where children are comfortable to take risks and make mistakes.

As you can tell, Erin loves working with children! She enjoys seeing the light bulb go off when children learn, grasp and apply a concept. Struggling learners have always tugged at her heart, and when she was a classroom teacher, she was always thrilled to see their names on her class list. She also likes all things that are teacher related such as planning, creating, organizing and decorating. She has always enjoyed creating educational resources, but since she started selling on Teachers Pay Teachers, this has become her number one hobby!

Her TPT store is called Erin Guge. (What Else?) It currently contains 36 products although she is constantly adding new ones! Her resources focus on PreK–5th grades with the spotlight primarily on PreK-3rd. Three of her resources are free, and one of those is called Poem of the Week Routine.

Free Resource
When she was getting ready to teach her daughter kindergarten, Erin knew she wanted to incorporate a Poem of the Week to practice beginning reading skills; however, she didn’t want the skill focus to be haphazard or hit-or-miss. Since she wanted a comprehensive plan, she created a Poem of the Week Routine

It is an easy-to-use one-page reference. Specific concepts and prompts are listed under each day of the week to ensure the time spent on your Poem of the Week is maximized and efficient.  Each day contains a different focus (print concepts, phonemic awareness and phonics, word focus, comprehension, and fluency). Whether you display your poem on a Smartboard, under the doc camera, on a chart, or in individual poetry notebooks, and whether you do this as a whole group, with a small group, or one-on-one, use this product to guide discussion as well as to direct student interaction with the poem (circle certain words, underline others, point to this, put a start by that). The options are endless! Since it is free, all you have to do is download it! 

One of her paid resources is called Reading Comprehension Strategies and Skills Posters and Cards. The goal for this resource is to present the strategies and skills in a way that is simple and brief; yet clear and meaningful even to young students. These 27 posters are a wonderful reference for introducing and practicing reading comprehension strategies and skills. They contain a brief definition and a helpful picture. Small cards are also included (identical to the posters), which can be used during guided reading, one-on-one and independent reading. The posters are one full page each, and the cards are small (9 per page).
Additionally, Erin has created other reading poster/card sets (genres, nonfiction text features, word attack strategies and figurative language/poetic elements). So if you are looking for quality and reasonably priced reading materials and activities, I suggest you check out Erin's store and her various resources. I know you will be pleased!

Making Gifts - Not Something I Normally Do

At this time of year, we have many friends retiring or celebrating those "up-in-years" birthdays. Many of the invitations read, "No Gifts, Please." I understand at this point in our lives, we have more than we need, but it is always nice to bring something to show your friend that you care. We just attended a 70th birthday party for someone we have known for years. Not only is he our friend, but he is someone both my husband and I have taught with. I looked on Pinterest (where else?) and found several ideas that I combined. Here is what I came up with - a large birthday card that was editable!!


Here is what I purchased to complete the giant card.

  1. A large folding poster (You need heavy poster board to hold all of the candy!)
  2. A Nestle's Symphony Bar
  3. A Snickers Bar
  4. Nestle Crunch
  5. One package of EXTRA chewing gum
  6. 100 Grand Candy Bar
  7. Butterfinger
  8. Skor Candy Bar
  9. Mr. Goodbar
  10. Package of Milk Duds
  11. Package of Whoppers
I hot glued each of the candy bars or packages of candy onto the poster. I then used rubber cement to attach the phrases. I created my own phrases that sort of matched the candy, but if you are making a card, get creative and make up your own. You might even find some better candy bars or items to put on the card.

I have to say this birthday card was a real "hit" and even became a center piece of the party. Also, the party goers thought it was extremely yummy!


Math Vocabulary Practice

I have discovered teaching the language of math is significant to teaching math concepts and procedures. Students need to use correct mathematics terminology as vocabulary knowledge provides students with a mathematics foundation they can apply and build on whether they are in or out of the classroom. It really is all about the word, the right words! Since mathematical language is used and understood around the world, conventional mathematics vocabulary gives our students the means of communicating those concepts universally.

With that said, I have discovered that my college students hate learning, reviewing or even practicing math vocabulary. I always begin the semester with a Mathematical Language Activity (see below) in which the students write two paragraphs about how they feel about the math language. You'd be surprised at how much I learn!


Even though my students have vocabulary assignments, and we play vocabulary games, especially before a test, many times they do it begrudgingly. Knowing that most of them like word puzzles, I created several math vocabulary crosswords to use in my classroom. The purpose of these puzzles is to have my students practice, review, recognize and use correct geometric vocabulary. I've made all of the crosswords free-form puzzles with the clues written in the form of definitions. 

Often, I create two different puzzles for the same math vocabulary. The first puzzle is easier as it contains a word bank while the second puzzle does not. Since both puzzles are laid out differently, I can use one as a review and the second one as a homework assignment or maybe even as a quiz.

Only $1.50
My newest one is on circles. Both puzzles feature 18 terms associated with circles. The words showcased in both puzzles are arc, area, chord, circle, circumference, degrees, diameter, equidistant, perimeter, pi, radii, radius, secant, semicircle, tangent and two. 

Also available are crosswords on polygons (includes 16 geometric shapes with an emphasis on quadrilaterals and triangles), plain geometry (features 25 different geometry terms with an emphasis on points, lines, and angles), and solid geometry (emphasizes polyhedrons, circles, and formulas for area, surface area, and volume).

To keep my old gray matter working, I do the paper crossword every Sunday. To many of our students, math is like a puzzle, but maybe they can learn to love figuring out the puzzle by doing these crosswords. Why not give one a try in your classroom?