Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Trigger Memory Systems

Hey, ho! Here's a GREAT bunch of items that I'd like to tell you about, in case you haven't heard of Trigger Memory Systems.

Perhaps you have heard of Times Tales?
Here is a snippet from the "About us" page:
"Times Tales is the brain-child of Jennie. While teaching her two boys multiplication facts, she noticed they were consistently struggling with certain problems. Answers for the lower facts came easily since they could quickly add them in their head when they got stuck. However, the higher facts, such as the 6s, 7s, 8s and 9s, were much more difficult to process mentally. To overcome this problem, Jennie turned these higher facts into memorable stories, enabling her boys to memorize the facts quickly and with little effort. With very little review, they could recall the facts even months later. Jennie was so impressed with the success of this method that years later, she joined with two partners to fully develop the program. Times Tales is the outcome of that endeavor. "

Simply put, Times Tales is a set of mnemonics (in this case stories and pictures) that can make it easier to recall the upper times tables for 3s,4s,6s,7s, 8s, and 9s.

I was sent the new version of Times Tales (Times Tales Deluxe) to review, as well as the complete set of Clean-N-Flip charts (Zone Cleaning, Bedroom Cleaning, and Laundry for kids).

This was a really fun review to do!
Now, I have to say that we already knew about Times Tales because I had the old version, which I used a little with my daughter when she was learning her times tables. It worked alright with her, but wasn't quite as much her cup of tea (She preferred learning the facts, versus learning stories about the facts... yup... she's pretty much an oldest child, and things are black and white for her....)

Well, It was now time to begin thinking about teaching number 2 the times tables, and imagine that! I have to do a review on Times Tales! The timing couldn't be better! :)

The updated "Deluxe" version includes the upper 3's and 4's times tables, along with division work that was missing in the original. If you happen to still have the original version... no worries~ there is a supplement available for purchase

OK, so now... the review.... we sat down and went through the first 4 stories(6x4, 7x3, 8x4, 9x3,), and he caught on pretty well. That night he went through them with dad, and got everything right.

Next day, review the first 4 and learn the next four(7x4, 6x3, 9x3, and 8x4)... great! He's got it! These seem to be down pat. We do "Review" for the rest of the week (Love those short math lessons! Particularly in November and December!), working in the concept of fact families and division as well.

Following week, day 1 (7x7, 7x8, 7x6, 6x6) Had a little trouble with the 7x6 and 6x6 stories, but hey, so far we've been doing great! Day 2 Review, and try the next 4 stories (7x9, 8x8,9x9,8x6)
Day 3 review. Still stuck on the 7x6 and 6x6... oh well everything else is there, so we'll move on.
(8x9, 6x9)

I'm impressed... with the exception of two stories that just aren't "sticking" for him, my 8 year old has pretty painlessly and easily learned the hardest bunch of times tables.. and it was fun!! :) 4 weeks later, he can still recall the answers to these problems with very little work on his part.

This one gets a HUGE thumbs up from me!

Now the other handy little items, the Clean-N-Flip charts....
They are set up with step-by-step instructions with illustrations to enable children to learn how to help around the house.

I have to let you know... we are somewhat domestically challenged in our home, so I was looking forward to trying these out!
My daughter pulled the Clean-N-Flip charts out of a stack on the table, and asked if these were part of the review as well? Yep! Sure are! She decided to read them, and then the 8 year old decided that he needed to check them out also.

Well!! He read through the Bedroom Cleaning for kids and said "Hey, this almost makes me want to clean my room!" ;) He then decided that he actually DID want to start to work on it (It had become an overwhelming mess, so this was huge that he was even interested in working on it on his own).

We had tried to give him a box to put away, a box to sell or give away, and a box to throw away, but that system wasn't working for him. He really got into the idea of a container for toys (To be put away), a container for books (To be put away), a container for clothes(To be put away), and a bag for trash. I didn't see him for another hour plus, and he actually made a huge dent in his disaster! Thank you, Trigger Memory gals!

We have yet to put the Laundry chart into action, and the Zone cleaning can only work when I get MY piles of books and papers, etc out of the way, so that they can work on the light cleaning, but this is going to be one of our New Year Resolutions! And with the help of the Clean-N-Flip charts, it truly will be OUR resolution, not just mine, because my kids now have some "Black and White" (Actually, they are in color, but you understand what I mean...) tools to help them help me get the job done!

Quick facts:
Times Tales Deluxe: $29.95
Times Tales Supplement(For original Times Tales owners):$12.95

Clean-N-Flip charts
Bedroom Cleaning for Kids:$7.95 (Laminated pages with "Day of the week jobs" that can be marked with a dry erase marker)
Zone Cleaning for Kids:$17.95 (laminated pages that work with a dry erase marker!)
Laundry for Kids:$7.95 (NOT laminated pages... don't let your little ones mark things off on this one!)
Set of all Three: $29.95

Oh, while you're there, you might want to check out all of the nifty products that the Trigger Memory Ladies have created....( Trigger Memory Elementary Math Terms is one that has my interest!) and/or include on their website....

OK, that's it for tonight~

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