Times tables & Multiplication

Teaching, Learning and Understanding Times Tables at Priors Hall a learning community

At Priors Hall a learning community, we focus on ONE times table each half term with opportunities built in to also practise those learnt previously. Why do we focus on one times table per half term? This is to ensure plasticity of the brain and that research suggests it takes up to 8 weeks to transfer into the long term memory.

Year Autumn 1Autumn 2Spring 1Spring 2Summer 1Summer 2
1Experience of counting in 2s, 5s and 10s
21x(1x) 2x5x(5x) 10x0xRevision
3(2x) 4x(4x) 8x3x(3x) 6x(6x) 12xRevision
49x7x11xSquaresRevisionMCT Test (June)

What children must know about multiplication before they embark on learning times tables:

  • Unitising – understanding that you can count a large group of items by counting smaller, equal groups of items from within the large group;
  • Understanding equal and unequal groups;
  • Combining equal groups;
  • Understanding the early relationship between repeated addition and the times sign.

Focus on each 'new' times table for a half term

  • Component 1: Regular retrieval practice to develop fluency (5 – 10 minutes 3-5 times a week). An emphasis on saying (and hearing) the sound pattern of the phrase is important and can lead to verbal prediction and patterning – but this practice should include conceptual support.
  • Component 2: Approximately 3 whole maths lessons every half term to explore each new times table – developing connections, exploring patterns and creating a deeper understanding of multiplicative reasoning with specific focus on this new times tables.

8 Whole School Steps

  • Follow the order in which to teach times tables.
  • Have a clear rationale for the way we present times tables at Priors Hall and the language used. E.g. use 6x7 not 7x6 in the six times table. In abstract situations, this is irrelevant but with a concrete problem it takes on another meaning.
  • When introducing a new times table systematically build it together with the children around the facts that they already know and have met before. Component 1 and/or 2
  • Introduce a new times table by first making clear conceptual links to the real world – a half termly display of ‘what comes in Component 1 and/or 2
  • Regular retrieval practice to develop fluency (5 – 10 minutes 3-5 times a week). Include conceptual support – at least initially. Include full verbal patterning (saying whole calculation) and also step counting. First in order then out of order. Build in tests but NOT as the main activity. Component 1
  • Use CPA approach when introducing a new times table for ALL children. Use powerful representation to enable clear connections and deeper understanding. Representation is about quality and progression. For arrays, begin with number blocks. Component 2
  • Explore patterns within each new times table; repeating digits, reversing digits, addition of digits, divisibility and how each table relates to several other times tables. Component 2
  • This is an overarching one as it relates to all the steps and provides opportunities to develop mastery through the use of variation (rather than variety) and though more intelligent practice. Component 2


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