Times Tales (Crew Review)

TimesTales review
Memorizing the times tables is one of those things you just have to do.  I don’t know anyone who has enjoyed the process, but it’s such a crucial part of a solid math foundation that we push through (and push our children through) to ensure future success.  The Trigger Memory Co. has come up with an innovative way to make this task less deplorable.  Their Times Tales videos take a totally new approach to helping cement multiplication facts in children’s minds, and we were thrilled to be given a digital download to review.

About Time Tales

The crazy thing about Times Tales is that they’re not really about numbers.  Well, they are, but they aren’t.  Really, they are a series of stories about characters that represent numbers, and as children learn the stories, they also learn multiplication facts.  The video is divided into two parts (covering two different sets of facts), each leading students through a series of steps to mastering the more difficult upper times tables. (The videos teach 3×6, 3×7, 3×8, 3×9, 4×6, 4×7, 4×8, 4×9, 6×6, 6×7, 6×8, 6×9, 7×7, 7×8, 7×9, 8×8, 8×9, and 9×9.)

Here are the steps through which each video takes you:

Meet the Characters (Introduces the characters that represent different numbers–only in Part 1)

Meet the Characters
Learn the Story (Goes through all the stories, each being about one or two sentences long.  First the story is written out with a simple picture; then there is an animated sequence that further helps drill each peace into the memory.)

written storyanimated story
Story Quiz (Asks questions to make sure they remember all the important parts of the stories)

Story Quiz
At this point, they tell the students that if they had trouble remembering any of the stories, they need to go back and repeat the previous two steps before moving on.

You’re the Story Teller (They show the picture for each story.  The student pauses the video to test themselves and then checks their answer.)

You're the Story Teller
You're the Story Teller1
Practice flashcards (Using the same pause-say-play technique as Step 3, these flashcards use the characters to help students recite the facts.)

Practice flashcards
Flashcards (These flashcards use numerals instead of the character-symbols, and they are timed, rather than instructing you to pause the video while trying to remember.  This section also contains a “Division Challenge” using a combination of numbers and symbols to test how well the students know the facts.)

At this point if students missed any of the flashcards they are told to go back and repeat these steps before taking the written test as the final step.)

The Trigger Memory Co REVIEW

In addition to the videos (which are available as downloads or in DVD format), there are PDF files included with the purchase of Times Tales.  Each of the two parts has it own set of printables which include the following:

  • crossword puzzle
  • flashcards using the character-symbols
  • flashcards using numerals
  • practice test (using character-symbols)
  • test (using numbers)
  • division flashcards using character-symbols
  • division flashcards using numerals
  • pattern for a paper cube and instructions for a game to help practice facts

Our Experience

I wasn’t sure if Elijah (6) would like this method, since the stories have nothing to do with the actual mathematical concept of multiplication.  They’re simply mnemonic devices to help get the facts implanted in kids’ brains.  However, he LOVED the videos and was absolutely gleeful about knowing all the answers.  Ian (8) also enjoyed them, though math isn’t really his thing, so he wasn’t quite as excited about them.  He definitely needs to work on memorizing his multiplication facts, however, and he’d certainly rather watch videos to learn them than a traditional method like flashcards.  Even the younger kids enjoyed watching along with the boys.

TimesTales CrosswordI think Times Tales are great for both visual and auditory learners, especially those who like to think “out of the box.”  I liked the way they showed the words of the story, showed an animated version of the story, plus told the story out loud AND repeatedly emphasized the key elements of the stories both visually and verbally so that it could really get into the kids’ brains.  I thought the printable materials were also really helpful for reinforcing what the kids had seen in the videos.

The only thing I felt was missing was a sort of “cheat sheet” for myself with all the stories written out.  Whenever the boys ask me, say, “What’s 6X3?” I turn it around and say, “Well, what was the story about the 6th grade class and butterflies?”  They usually remember immediately, “At 1 o’clock, they let 8 butterflies go.  Eighteen!”  Occasionally though, none of us quite remember the story, and I’d love to have a quick way to look it up.

Overall, Times Tales were a big hit in our house, and I know we’ll be reviewing them periodically as the kids move further into multiplication.  This is a great supplement for any math curriculum, and there’s a 15-minute sample video available for FREE (teaching the upper 9’s) so if you have kids working on learning the times tables, be sure to check them out!

The Trigger Memory Co REVIEW
Times Tales by the The Trigger Memory Co REVIEW
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