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Learning Multiplication with more than Memorization

April 19, 2016

You might remember learning multiplication by memorizing your times tables – repeating each equation, one by one by one: “five times five is twenty-five”. But that method isn’t what you’ll find in Jennifer Guido’s third grade classroom at Richard A. Shields Elementary in Delaware. Instead, Guido uses a series of stations, with different tech tools at each one, to present math to her students in a variety of ways. She was just named the PBS Digital Innovator for Delaware in 2016, and seeing her in action, it’s easy to understand why.

Guido’s model allows students to rotate to three different learning areas as they begin their multiplication journey. One group sits with the teacher, who sends them math problems from her iPad that they answer and send back. Another station, also using iPads, has students watch a video, then answer questions and perform tasks to demonstrate their understanding. And last but not least, students use the third station to come up with questions about where they’re stuck or need a little extra guidance. When the class reviews multiplication all together, Guido uses those questions as a jumping-off point to understand her students’ trouble spots.

Guido knows that all of this technology isn’t just about helping her students master multiplication – it’s also teaching them habits of good digital citizenship and literacy. “The skills they need are so drastically different and changing than what they’ve been in the past,” she says. “I think it’s important for them to be able to navigate the internet and use it appropriately, effectively, and purposefully for everything that they need.”