I have been working on the four times table with my second grader. We have been doing a number of things:

1 – Count by 4’s: 1, 2, 3, **4**, 5, 6, 7, **8**, etc.

2 – Toss a ball, taking turns saying the table: 4 (me), 8 (him), 12 (me), 16 etc.

3 – Put cards in order. We have a stack of number cards that we made, up to 144. I gave him the cards from the 4 times table in random order, and he put them in order, saying the table aloud.

I told the story of ‘Star Money’ from Grimms, and we practiced the 4 star on our wooden disk, drew and colored the star, and wrote out the 4 times table.

I also told the fable The Little Jackals and the Lion. Any fable of animals with 4 legs would do. We drew the lion looking down into the well at his own reflection, then we counted lion’s legs the next day.

My Lion

First we used a 6-sided die (everything is better with dice). He would roll and that would determine how many lions we have. Then we put 4 legs on each lion. Now, how would you write that number sentence? We did this several times, took a break, and carefully put some examples in the lesson book. Next to try it with the 9 sided die, and finally the 12!

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I think I need to make one of those wooden disks! Did you follow instructions from anywhere in particular?

I don’t think I followed any particular instructions… a friend showed me. Just take a circular piece of wood, and have the child place 10 jewels evenly around the circumference. Make a little pencil mark at each jewel. Have the child hammer a nail into each mark. Tie a piece of embroidery thread to one of the nails. Now you can skip count around the nails. Start at 0, then skip to 2, then 4, 6, 8, 10 (0), 12 (2), etc. See what pretty shapes you get! It is a nice way to practice skip counting when passing a ball gets dull.