And now, for something completely different…

While teaching kids with learning disabilities in Las Vegas, I became convinced of the tremendous power of music as a learning aid. Students who had difficulty with rote memorization seemed especially to benefit from musical mnemonic devices.

My process for teaching kids to easily compute multiplication facts is simple and twofold:

  1. Teach kids how to skip-count (count by multiples)
  2. Teach kids how to multiply using skip-counting

In order to teach my kids how to skip-count, I created several funky songs to that end.  They may be listened to, downloaded and shared freely*:  Skip-counting songs

And here is my method for teaching the songs and how to multiply using skip-counting:  Instructions (pdf)

I will periodically add more songs, so stay ‘tuned’ (Har!).

*provided you don’t turn around and sell them, etc.  Full terms of the license found here.

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Why we need to end “No Child Left Behind”

The No Child Left Behind Act is up for reauthorization, and it is about time. When it was first passed in 2001, proponents of NCLB said it would introduce high standards for achievement and accountability to under-performing teachers and schools. George Bush even came out with one of the best one-liners of his career: “We are challenging the soft bigotry of low expectations.”

Well, that’s all well and good in theory, but after teaching at an at-risk, Title I school for the last two years, I’m here to tell you what virtually every public school teacher will tell you: NCLB simply does not work.

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