The Beginning 2-4 days
Usually on the first day of learning multiplication, the kids are excited to learn this skill. That is why I give them the multiplication guide right off the bat. The multiplication guide is a list of factors (2-5) and 10 multiplication facts (must memorize). I explain to them that if they can master the entire guide, there isn't a multiplication problem that they can't figure out. Here is the example below.
On the first day all I ask the students to do is memorize the factors of 2 on the guide. Then I show them how they can then answer a fact the has the factor of 2. For example: 8x2=16. By allowing them to sit at their desks for a few minutes on their own to study, then practice with a partner, many students will master the 2's with ease.
You will find that most students already know their factors of 2 and automatically build confidence towards multiplication. Some will take the guide and see just how much they can learn and memorize the whole thing within 1-2 weeks. These students aren't the ones to worry about; they will learn their facts.
Surprisingly, you may have a couple students the struggle at first to just simply memorize the 2's. These are the kids that you need to make sure right away that they can do this on the first day. This is why I always bring the class to the front of the room to do a factor review to make sure ALL students know their factor that they need memorized.
Bringing them to the front of room
When I bring them to the front of the room, I sit them on the floor so I know that there will be no distractions that the kids seem to always find in their desks. I then write the factors of 2-20. I then pick random students to say all the factors. After a student correctly finishes, I erase the 20 and then pick another student. They will say the factors all the way to 20 (even though the 20 is no longer there). Once they do this, I will then erase the 18. I will continue this practice until all are erased. The practice is over when the final student I pick can say the factors without any being on the board. *If a student messes up the factors, I rewrite them all the way back to 20.
Where Strategy Ball comes in
After the practice, I then line the kids up in a single file line, set the timer for 3 minutes, and get multiplication cards that include only the factors of 2. I then begin the timer and then show them a card. When the students get the answer correct, they will get to shoot the basketball at one of the 3 hoops. There is a large hoop (worth 3 points), a medium hoop (worth 6 points), and a small hoop (worth 18 points). The students will help the teacher keep score as the game goes. In the school I teach at, we set up single elimination brackets so classes can compete against one another (check the games out on strategyball.com under games of the week)