Today I am writing my first blog post for the Australian Teacher’s Blog, having recently joined the list of collaborators. A little about me; I am Alison from Teaching Maths with Meaning. I have been teaching for 11 years and started off loving Maths and Science, but now I am a lover of all things Primary Education! I am currently on family leave, spending time at home with my toddler, but I am relief teaching throughout the week to keep my hand in the game. I love teaching everyday I get the chance, teacher for life!
Teaching Maths with Meaning

Today I want to talk about multiplication, specifically the teaching of Times Tables. We all have those students who love daily times tables tests, quickly remembering sums and recording them. As the days go on, they move up to the next level and get faster and faster. But what happens to those who are stuck on the x2 tables day after day? Perhaps they are slow, maybe they struggle memorising facts, maybe they know the answers just have trouble recording them? Whatever it is that holds these children back, should it be held against them everyday?

I believe learning times tables by rote definitely has a place in the classroom. I have taught so many students who love the challenge and get excited by daily tests. But the other students concern me, if I ignore their needs do they go onto Grade 5/6 and High School not knowing how to solve simple multiplication sums?

So what can we do? My biggest tip is get to know the multiplication sums individually, look at the numbers and look at the patterns. Memorising sums or songs may help some students, but may not help everyone in your class.

Forming arrays are where the discussion of multiplication begins. Students learn this skill in Foundation and gradually build on their understanding. At the beginning of your discussion on Timestables, you could teach the game Array Boxes – it’s a great reminder for students, as well as fun to see the game board fill up. Also head to NZ Maths for a great activity on Multiplication Stories. 

Skip Counting
Then I explicitly teach students to use skip counting to solve multiplication sums, we even use our fingers! Skip Counting can be done as a warm up verbally, written down on whiteboards or using the repeated addition on a calculator. Simply enter 5+5= on a calculator then continue to push =. It will skip count. Ask students to shut their eyes and press = until you tell them to stop, they love the competition! It leads to great discussion also.

So with skip counting we can check off
x2 tables = done!
x5 tables = done!
x10 tables = done!

Double Double
Approaching the 4 times tables as a double double is a great strategy. So if students know 2x4 = 8, then double it and they know 4x4 = 16, 2x10 = 20 so 4x10 = 40 therefore Double Double!

x4 tables = done!

This approach can also be used for the x6 times tables if student's know the x3 times tables. 3x6 = 18 which means 6x6 must equal double 18.

x6 tables = done!

This strategy can also be used for the 12 times tables but there are easier ways.

Visual Strategies
There are some great videos on youtube teaching times tables strategies. I particularly like this one for the 3 times tables. By creating a simple grid, you can show the pattern when counting by 3. The same presenter has a video for learning x7 tables which is equally as easy!

x3 tables = done!
x7 tables = done!

Times tables charts are on display in my classroom and students are encouraged to use them. If we are completing a longer multiplication sum, students can show me they understand the process and get the answer correct, even if they can't memorise their sums.

We all know the x9 trick using your fingers - I often see students using this strategy in class time. If you are unsure about it check out this explanation.

x9 tables = done!

11 Times Tables = Easy!
Students often find the 11 times tables fun and easy and can quickly recall the double of the number, until the reach 11x10.

x11 tables = done!

Addition assisting Multiplication
When teaching the 12 times tables, simply break the sum up. If student's know their 10 times tables and know their 2 times tables, then they can solve any 12 times tables problem.
12 x 4 =
10 x 4 = 40
2 x 4 = 8
So 40 + 8 = 48 therefore 12 x 4 = 48

3 for Free
Teaching students the strategy of 3 for Free helps them understand that if they know
3 multiply 4 = 12
They also know
4 multiply 3 = 12
12 divided by 4 = 3
12 divided by 3 = 4
Using this strategy will give students double the number of times tables. You can learn more about this strategy here

Some Resources You Might Like

This art/maths activity is based on skip counting where student’s draw lines to create circular patterns. Discuss the different patterns different numbers make. Students will be able to visually see the link between different sets of timetables.

Find out more about the 3 for Free Strategy in this pack, where you can purchase fact family cards to use in games and in class activities.

Check out this Times Tables Pack from Paula's Place or Times Table Posters from Miss Jacob's Little Learners for posters, checklists and activities. 

I hope you found this blog post useful, until next time,


Hi teachers!

Did you know that there are a whole heap of awesome Australian-based teaching resources to assist you in your classroom just waiting to be downloaded? And what's even better is that lots of them are FREE!
I'm Chantelle from Miss Jacobs Little Learners and today I'm going to be giving you some links to some really useful free resources that you can download to use with your kiddos!


Aussie FREEBIES Pinterest Board

Firstly, if you are on Pinterest, I highly recommend following the 
Aussie FREEBIE Teaching Resources Board which you can find here:

This board will link you to numerous free resources that have been designed and created by Australian teachers for all curriculum areas.

Free Literacy Resources

Reading Comprehension Story Wands

Word Wall Cards: QLD Font (also available in other State fonts)

Seasons - Writing Activity

Journal Writing Tasks for Grade 3-4

Free Numeracy Resources

Take a Chance Game

Fish Frenzy

Australian Money Match Game

Australian Coin Spinners 

Australian Feral Animals Hunt - Maths Game


Birthday Toppers

Become a Kind Student

Australian Flag

Classroom Committees


When you download free resources from TPT, it is always nice to leave some feedback for the creators who spent time developing these resources. 
Your feedback is always appreciated! 

Hands-on, interactive activities are so much fun! And when you add food they are even better!! I love incorporating highly engaging, edible activities into our week, and I've got a few activities we've done recently to share with you.

I'm Jem from Jem's Bright Buttons. I had an amazing teaching buddy last year who was always looking for ways to add food, or other interesting or novel resources, to our lessons with the preps (kindergarten). Now that I've moved to grade 2/3 I'm still inspired by that teacher, and I continue to look for ways to add novelty to our learning.


We have a strong focus on Science at my school, and three of my most recent Science lessons have involved food, and my students loved them!! We are learning about Earth Science, and our big Inquiry question is "How does the Earth's surface change?" We are looking at things like soil, erosion, weathering, etc. so one of our first lessons was to define what the Earth's surface is made of. A quick search on Pinterest, and I found this amazing soil layers activity:

Our soil consisted of:
- Large marshmallows for the bedrock
- Small marshmallows for the parent material
- Cheerios for the subsoil
- Coco Pops for the top soil
- Crushed chocolate biscuits for the humus
- Mint leaf and lolly snake for the organic material

Students also had to do a labelled drawing of it:

We investigated whether moving water or still water caused more erosion/weathering using M&Ms and water.

Students filled two plastic cups halfway with water, then dropped in a Mega M&M. One cup they swished around, the other they left sitting on the table. They drew and labelled their observations, and had to write a conclusion about what happened.

To 'tune in' to the topic, we looked at a simplified version of the rock cycle using sugar cubes. Students crushed them (weathering), moved the crushed sugar onto aluminium foil (erosion), and we placed the aluminium foil 'boats' on an electric fry pan to heat the 'rocks' and change them, then looked at how they had changed.

All three activities helped our students to understand complex processes and changes in a hands-on way, and the novelty of food has helped them remember the theory and subject content.


Some activities I've done with students in the past for maths using food include:

- Sorting M&Ms and Smarties.

- Sorting M&Ms, but writing the groups as fractions with older students (no photo of this one).

- Using them as counters, especially on the 100th Day of School.

- Or as counters to show division, or 'fair sharing'.

Our collaborators

Alison and Christie have also used food in their maths activities. Here are some of their awesome ideas:

- Tiny Teddy subtraction

- Jelly bean graphing

- Making 3D shapes with marshmallows

- Learning about mean, median and mode with Oreos

I'd love to know:

How do you use food, or other novelty resources, in your teaching?


As the end of another term approaches the quality of work and student behaviour start to deteriorate. As I walk around the school and talk to other teachers they are all saying the same things. My class needs holidays! My class have gone back to Term 1 behaviour. I need wine after the day I've had! I had to message 3 parents this afternoon. 

So today I am here to share with you the Best Ways to Combat the End of Term Slide.  
Hi I'm Sheri from Early Years with Sheri. I often get told by my colleges I am a little too happy early in the mornings and they always wonder why my class isn't losing it towards the end of the term. Below are five ways I keep my class from reaching the stage where you just want holidays to come a few days or even weeks early because they've lost it.

1. Keep things engaging and rigorous. 

Throughout the term we plan engaging and rigorous lessons for our classes. By the end of the term when the assessment is complete teachers are left scrambling things together for report cards, parents teacher interviews, their beach holiday getaway that their lesson plans get left to the wayside. A bit of reading here, some fact practice here and how about we have some free time. Kids love structure and routine. When we stray from the routine the kids behaviours are bound to start. 

Last term I preempted this problem. It has happened to me many times before. I need to do PM levels, get sight word tests done and expect kids to be quiet and engaged with busy work or free time. It doesn't work. I knew that this term we were learning about non-fiction texts so I read the students a book about dolphins, played YouTube clips with dolphin facts and even a video of the Dolphin Show at SeaWorld somewhere in America. We did dolphin directed drawing and gathered and wrote down facts about them. The kids loved it. They were totally quiet and engaged and all I had to do was read a book. This took up our whole literacy block for the last week of the term. They have all been begging me for a Shark Week which I think we will do in the final week to this term. 
The picture on the bottom is my most hesitant and lowest learner. Yes one of the other students helped him make sure his spelling was right but it is all his ideas and writing. He wanted to do the work!

2. Get Your Students Moving.

In the last couple of weeks of school kids need to move. Whether they are tired from the work you've done all term and needing a break or they are full of excitement and needing to release their energy they will need to move. 

One idea is to do short quick activities around the room. Have stations set up with 8-15 minutes at each stop. Kids will be learning but it is quick enough for them to sustain focus. Then they get to move to a new spot when the time is up. To the carpet, another group of desk or even outside with a teacher aide. 

In my class we do this for reading groups, maths groups and spelling groups. Towards the end of the term I swap out a lot of the less engaging activities to increase movement. For example a quiet write the room activity rather than a worksheet. Kids are still practicing the skill but are moving and exploring while doing it. 

Another awesome way to get students moving is through brain breaks. My kids love GoNoodle. It was a lifesaver when school first went back and kids were still getting back into the routine of sitting for longer periods of time. As the term draws to a close we are relying on them more and more. Students get fidgeting and start getting off task and we all get up and do a brain break to get our wiggles out. Our favourites are Pop See Ko 2.0, Milkshake (it is currently banned in our room though because they were being too loud and crazy with it), Rollercoaster and my favourite is Dance Like this Dude. 

3. Be Kind to Yourself

Yes report cards and parents teacher interviews are time consuming. Making sure everything is just right, last minute marking and all the rest of it can lead to teachers forgetting what is important. Their health. Make sure you are getting to bed at a reasonable time. You are eating properly. I am guilty of having frozen pizza and party pies at the ready for those long days when you get home and can't be bothered. Some of our kids are nervous and apprehensive about the holidays and we want them to see us at our best. Not tired, hungry and cranky. Make them want to come back to school by being your best possible self even in those last couple of days. 

4. Stay Positive

If you've ever been to a school in the last week you would know it can be a soul sucking place. How many days left! Only 3 more hours till holidays. I can't wait to be out of here these kids are driving me crazy. Ahhh I don't know about you but I am a positive believer in positive thinking. All this negativity just brings me down and I turn into the cranky teacher who blows up about all the little things. It's the end of the term and kids are going to be restless, especially your tricky students. School is a safe place for most of them and the thought of leaving it for two weeks makes their impulsivity, emotions and brain do all kinds of crazy things. Focus on the positives and don't get into that negative downward spiral. No one responds to that. 
You could have a circle time to talk about how you're all feeling as the holidays are coming. Let the kids let their emotions out in a safe environment. Let your kids know you're feeling the same, maybe not going to miss work but at least one or two kids. Celebrate the achievements of the term. Who has reached their goals, what were some fun things that happened throughout the term etc. Most importantly stay away from those toxic staff members or staff rooms. 

5. Prepare

While you're winding down to the end of the term your plans won't involve as much copying, laminating etc. Start getting what you need for the next term planned now. Put in your spelling lists, homework and assessment for next term in to be copied. Anything that can be done now to save you stressing over the holidays helps. There is nothing worse than that panic on the last day over what you need to take home to get done over the break. I find it so easy every Monday grabbing my folder going to whatever week it is and having the homework and spelling all there without that mad Monday photocopy line. 

You may be thinking how does the stop the end of term slide? When you know you have nothing to do you get to school later, leave school earlier and are more likely to do no work during breaks. This is the worst thing for me. I get lazy. I put on that movie because I can't be bothered setting up groups. My class are bored and arguments start. I've used a whole ream of paper for the kids who have been free drawing while I sit there supervising. Yes all your work for the term is done but there is no reason you can't start putting up posters for your next units, start seeing what students already know about their next topic to assist your planning over the holidays. 

As previously stated we started our non-fiction unit before the holidays. I knew my students needed help with retrieving information, writing using dot points and leaving a line after each new fact. It took minimal planning and my unit was better for it. 

I hope you have come away with some ideas to help you avoid the end of term slide. I know that we all get in the habit of blaming behaviours and the likes on the end of term but with a few simple changes we can beat that slide. 

Sheri :) 

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