Wednesday, April 6, 2016

A TOS Review: The Trigger Memory Co.

The Trigger Memory Co REVIEW

Caleb has had a very successful 2nd grade year. He finished his math back in February, and I wasn't sure what I wanted to do for him next. Do I start his 3rd grade work? Do some review? Work on something new? That's when this review showed up, just at the perfect time. We reviewed Times Tales by The Trigger Memory Co. I was sent the digital download version of all the products.

The Trigger Memory Co REVIEW

Times Tales is a program that uses an innovative approach to teaching young children their upper times tables. It is a memory based program, one that I think is very unique and exciting. Each multiplication problem was presented to the child as a story. Every number became a character or object in the story, and the answers created word pictures that the child made a cognitive trigger for. It was very exciting to watch Caleb learn something in such a short time that the older kids took weeks or months to learn!

Basically, the program is broken into two 30-minute video lessons. It is highly encouraged to watch the first video multiple times to make sure the triggers have been made before moving on to the second video. The child will be memorizing a lot of problems at once, and you want to be sure they really get it.

The videos are segmented into lessons. The first one was the introduction of all the number characters or objects. For example, number four (4) is a chair, and number seven (7) is Mrs. Week. After the introduction, the video introduces the stories. The story incorporates the characters and objects as well as the answer to the multiplication problem into a short one or two sentence story. For example, the story for:
7 x 4 = 28


"Mrs. Week sat on a chair and fished. She caught 2 boots and 8 trout."

I have to admit, I was skeptical at first. I wasn't sure if Caleb would make the connection. The videos kind of move slowly, but I guess that is part of the science - it's giving the child the time to look at the pictures and really make the trigger stick.

After the introduction of the stories comes the Story Quiz called Beat the Clock. The video sets up a game show screen and shows the question while the narrator asks it. There will be questions about what happened to the character, or what object did something in the story - just another time to solidify those triggers! 

In Step 4, the child is asked to retell the story. In this section they are reminded that it is VERY important to say the story in the EXACT order. Otherwise, the trigger will get confused. Using the above example, it is very important to say that Mrs. Week caught two boots first. Otherwise, when the math problem is introduced, they could say that the answer is 82 instead of 28. So memorizing the story in order is essential to success.

Step 5 is Practice Flashcards. This is when it gets fun and the child realizes that they have learned math! The narrator explains that there is a multiplication problem hidden in every story. So the first time he sees the math problem, it is with the characters or objects instead of the numbers.

Then they show the child the actual multiplication problem. The connection is complete! It was actually very fun to watch Caleb see it all come together and know what it all meant.

After they understand what has been going on, they are quizzed with real flash cards. They have another game show setting on the video where they are given 3 to 5 seconds to answer the problem. I was surprised how quickly Caleb was able to do it! After the first time watching the video, he got almost question right! 

The next section introduces division. Using the same idea and all the components they just learned for multiplication, they have to learn how to fill in the missing blank. In other words, they have to know who or what is missing from the story. Caleb is not as quick at this yet, but he is already improving!

Once you have gone through the entire video, you are encouraged to use the flash cards with your child to get them even more familiar with the stories. There are two sets - one with the characters and one typical set of multiplication problems. Then there are practice tests and final tests to use. 

I did have one complaint. I wish Times Tales covered ALL the times tables! It's very odd to me that I would have Caleb learn the higher number multiplication before the easier ones. Zeros, ones, twos and fives are completely skipped, and I would have loved to see characters for these as well.

All in all, I am very happy with Times Tales. I know this will help Caleb next year, and he will remember these tales for a very long time. 

To keep up with The Trigger Memory Co. on social media, follow the following link:

To see what some of my fellow reviewers thought of this product, check their blogs out here:

Times Tales by the The Trigger Memory Co REVIEW

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