Talking Times Tables calls are short and sweet - only 2-3 minutes a day, 5 days a week.
They're designed to help your child memorise a times table, and then use that table to answer multiplication questions.
A single table is the focus of 20 lessons that get progressively more difficult each day: 12 to learn the sing-song chant, 2 to practice reciting it fluently, and 6 to learn how to recall answers to random questions.
If children try to learn too many tables too quickly, they become confused and frustrated. Taking the time to really cement one table before moving onto the next is well worth while.
Memorising a times table is a great first step, but children need to learn how to recall any single answer when required.
Children who have practised the technique get less flustered when faced with a question from the middle of the table.
Being able to recite the whole table in 12 seconds is a handy fallback option, but they only get 6 seconds per question in the Year 4 MTC (Muliplication Tables Check) test.
The sample lessons include teaching a times table, and teaching how to recall a single answer.
As a final challenge, the children have a chance to sing their table as fast as they possibly can!
Can they beat the 15 second timer? Well, they can try!
This is my kids' favourite lesson. If they don't make the timer, they ask to try again the next day!)
There's no need to recite times tables at breakneck speed, but it does mean that you can practice four times tables in under a minute - which is a great way of polishing off your practicing when you'd rather be doing something else.
Enough daily practice to keep them learning, but not so much that it becomes a chore. 2-3 minutes is about right.
The lessons are structured so that your child makes steady progress, with each lesson building on the lesson before.
They're paced for children who sing along with the lessons and complete the worksheets, 5 days a week.
It also helps if you can sing along with your children and make that lesson part of your routine (maybe answer the phone at the breakfast table when you're there to join in?)
If you can squeeze in a quick recital practice on the school run, that will do wonders for your child's memorisation!
Children learn at different speeds, so you have full control over when you move on and which times tables your child learns.
If you realise a lesson is too difficult for your child, log in to your control panel and set their next call to repeat one of the earlier lessons.
They need to really master reciting each table before moving on.
You can listen to several lessons of differing difficulty for free here.
At your scheduled time, your phone will ring.
Do not be surprised if this takes you by surprise! I'm still caught off guard all the time and we've been doing this for yonks.
It's fine for your child to answer the phone.
All lessons are pre-recorded. You will never be phoned by a live person. It will always be Recorded Me, and some kind of text-reading bot which will probably screw up the pronunciation of your child's name.
Recorded Me will say:
"Hello! This is Jenn from Talking Times Tables. Can I speak to..."
Then the bot will take over and have a bash at your child's name:
...Fred, please? Press 1 when you're ready.
Press 1, then Recorded Me will take over again!
On your first ever call, you'll hear a short introduction to the Talking Times Tables programme.
The daily lesson is usually less than 2 minutes long and focuses on a single times table.
When the lesson is complete, Recorded Me will tell your child which lesson on their worksheet to fill in today.
Then I'll say 'bye' and you can put the phone down. If you don't put the phone down the call will ring off automatically.
The Talking Times Tables system monitors the length of the call, to make sure you're not an answerphone. If the call completes, the next lesson in the series is cued up for the next call.
After the last lesson in each times table series (lesson 20), I encourage your child to contact me to tell me how well they've done.
Remember the calls are all recordings and they're made from a phone number that doesn't accept incoming calls. Your child can't actually contact me without your help.
If you'd like to contact me, the best way is to message me via the contact form in your control panel.
When we trialled this programme, the children were so proud of what they'd learned that they sought me out to sing me their times tables :)
I'd love to hear your child sing - but it's not as easy as it might be. Record them and email it to me!
Once your child has mastered a times table, they'll need to practise quite frequently so that they don't forget it!
It's much much easier to rattle through a times table before they forget, than to leave it too long and have to learn it all over again.
The Talking Times Tables calls will recap all the tables your child has learned after each new table is completed.
The recap lessons help to refresh your child's memory for tables they already know - but it will help enormously if you can make practicing part of your daily routine.
The nice thing about singing times tables is that you can practise on the hoof! The school run is an ideal daily anchor for your new learning habit.
In our family, the first road on our walk to school is known as Times Tables Street.
When we walk down Times Tables Street, whichever child is currently learning their times tables, has to recite all the tables they know.
They whip through them as fast as possible and time themselves by the roadside trees.
Yes, they complain sometimes, but I can usually talk them into it because it's not that hard to recite something you already know by heart.
Life is a lot simpler now that the phone call and worksheets do the actual teaching!