I was very excited to be able to review Times Tales from The Trigger Memory Co.
We were given the Times Tales Digital Download, which is in two parts, each taking about half an hour to download, as well as pdf files for worksheets and answer keys:
What is Times Tales?
Times Tales is an imaginative program which encourages the child to learn his upper times tables, without ever needing to resort to learning them by rote. And The Trigger Memory Company believe they can do this in just one hour! Part One begins with Hannah (a cartoon lady – see below) explaining how the program works. She talks to the child and not the parent
Hannah explains that Part One focuses on the upper 3’s and 4’s times tables, whereas Part Two covers the upper 6’s, 7’s, 8’s and 9’s times tables.
In Step one of Part One, Hannah introduces us to each number’s character. For example number 3 is otherwise known as a butterfly
Number seven is Mrs Week on account of there being seven days in a week:
Each number has a memorable character attached to it.
In step two, the child watches the stories. Each story contains two numbers (the ones which will eventually be multiplied). The simple stories also, rather cleverly, contain the answers too. Take 8 and 3, or to be more accurate Mrs Week and the Butterflies. Their story is simply this:
Mrs Week went butterfly hunting. She captured 20 in her net and 1 landed on her head.
No more details are given. It is so simple that even a younger student would be able to remember it. The beauty with this program is the children learn these short stories without realising that they are, in fact, learning their times tables. In this case they learn that 7 (Mrs Weeks) times 3 (butterfly) equals 21 (20 butterflies in the net and 1 on the head).
Once the child has memorised the stories, there is a beat the clock type game (step 3), as well as a tell the story game (step 4). These two games reinforce the learning and let the parent know if the child needs to review anything.
There are also printables which can be downloaded and printed as needed. These use many different methods of reinforcing the lessons taught in the video. For example:
- Pictorial multiplication flash cards:
- Regular multiplication flash cards using numbers:
And finally tests, one using the characters and one using the proper numbers:
- There is even a roll the dice game you can print on card, cut out and play:
Pros and Cons of Times Tales
- The numbers are assigned memorable and consistent characters throughout the program
- Very simple stories, easy to understand by even the youngest of students or those who may struggle with learning.
- The stories obviously captured the children’s attention and they were not bored at all, which is somewhat of a miracle for my seven-year old.
- It is a program which works remarkably quickly, with the children memorising after just one hour.
- It is downloadable and therefore completely reusable
- I think, in this hi-tech world, some children may be put off by the plain and simple animation. For A7 who is so easily distracted this turned out to be a Godsend
- The printable downloads were fabulous for reinforcement and practice as well as for me to check she really understood.
- It only covers the upper tables, which I guess children struggle with the most. For me it would have been nice to have covered all the tables in one fail swoop, especially as this was A7’s first formal exposure to the tables
- I think it would have been useful if A7 could click on the particular stories she was struggling with, rather than me having to go through them all to find the one she wanted.
- I look forward to the day A7 remembers her tables without needing to go through the story out loud. Needless to say, I am very nearly word-perfect having heard the stories so many times 😉
- Simple, almost black and white, no ‘bells and whistles’ animation which is slow-moving (but see pros because for me that was an advantage)
Our Views on Time Tales
We loved it! It was simple to use and very effective. I would definitely recommend it 🙂
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