The author got my attention by telling me this program was better than Math-It. I’ve always liked Math-It’s methods, so I was curious as to what she thought might be better and accepted the two books, Two Plus Two Is Not Five and Five Times Five Is Not Ten, for review.
The immediate difference is that these two products are books rather than “kits” as in Math-It. While Math-It uses “tricks” for remembering math facts, it also incorporates some hands-on activity. In contrast, these books teach tricks for learning math facts, but practice and drill is all done with traditional worksheets.
The real value of these books lies in the “tricks.” Greenwald introduces tricks for just about every math fact, giving names to the different types of tricks. Some of these are likely to be familiar to you already (e.g., when adding two consecutive numbers, double the first number then add 1), but others are not (learning combinations of 3, 5, 8, and 13 as “Curvy numbers”). The strategies for the tricks require different types of thinking. Some are mental associations, some have to do with the appearance of the numbers themselves, and in Five Times Five some strategies have students use their hands and fingers as part of the tricks. Some might be more trouble to use than simply memorizing the math facts. But if you have students who struggle with math facts it’s worth introducing the tricks and discovering what they find helpful. If you don’t use all of the tricks, that’s fine.
Two Plus Two covers addition and subtraction facts up through the “nines,” but it also covers selected facts up through 18-9. Five Times Five covers multiplication facts up through 9 x 9. Lots of practice sets are included, some working on only the current topic and some cumulative. Addition, subtraction, and multiplication problems are presented both vertically and horizontally so students become familiar with the facts in the different ways they might appear.
There are record-keeping pages both for tracking when you teach each math fact and when students demonstrate mastery. Pages may be reproduced for use in your family or a single classroom.