Diary of a Not So Wimpy Teacher

FREE Multiplication Math Facts Games

These games are perfect for centers when you are teaching multiplication!

Games are such an effective tool for practicing skills in the classroom. Students are so engaged when playing games and we remember more of what we learn when we are having fun. 

I worked hard to incorporate games into my classroom on a very regular basis. My students played vocabulary games on Fridays and they would play math fact games during math centers during the week.

I want to share several of my students' favorite multiplication fact games! And the best part? 

I am giving you all of the printables to play these games for FREE! Yippee! 

Multiplication Games for Math Centers

1. Pop

This game is great for a center. Students can play with with a small group or with a partner. 

For this game, put math fact cards and pop cards into a container. Students take turns pulling one card out of the container. If they pull a math fact card, they must solve for the fact.  If they answer correctly, they keep the card. If they are wrong, it goes back in the container. If they draw a pop card, they must put all of their cards back in the container. The winner is the person with the most fact cards when playing time is over.

These games are perfect for centers when you are teaching multiplication!

I love that anyone can end up winning this game. Your lower learners can win if their partner draws a pop card right before playing time ends!

2. Multiplication War

Students will play this game with a partner. All that students will need to play this game is a deck of playing cards. Take all of the face cards out. 

Students will deal all of the cards so that they each have half of the deck. They will keep their pile face down. Both players will flip their top card at the same time. The first person to correctly multiply the two flipped numbers will keep both cards and put them at the bottom of their pile. If both students answer the math fact at the same time, they will each flip another card. The first person to correctly answer the new problem, will keep all four of the cards. 

These games are perfect for centers when you are teaching multiplication!

The winner is the person with the most cards when playing time is complete.

Warning- you will want to talk to students about their volume (especially if you are using this game in a center. When they are trying to be fast, they tend to get loud. Spend a little time practicing the appropriate volume.

3. Board Games

Using simple board games is my very favorite way for my students to practice math facts! 

You will need to collect some game boards. You will want games that students already know how to play. I suggest Candy Land, Chutes and Ladders, Connect Four, Trouble, Checkers etc. These games can typically be found at second hand stores. The other thing that you will need are sets of multiplication flash cards. 

To play, students will take turn. flipping over a flash card. If they answer the fact correctly, they get to take the usual turn on the game board. So if you are using Candy Land, the student would get to draw a game card and move to that place on the game board.

These games are perfect for centers when you are teaching multiplication!

If a student gets the fact incorrect, they don't get a turn to play on the game board. 

The winner is the first person to win the board game according to the game's rules.

4. Jenga

This is another great game to use in math centers. 

Take a Jenga game and write multiplication facts on each of the blocks. Students will play the game according to the Jenga rules. The only difference is that when a person pulls out a block, they must answer the math fact before placing it on the top of the tower. 

These games are perfect for centers when you are teaching multiplication!

The winners are the players who do NOT knock down the tower.

5. Rolling Facts

This game requires almost no prep and is perfect for a center. All students need is 1 or 2 dice, a set of flash cards and a scrap paper or white board to keep score. 

These games are perfect for centers when you are teaching multiplication!

Students will take turns flipping over a flash card and answering the math fact. If they are correct, they get to roll the die or dice to determine how many points they earn. The winner is the student with the most points when the flash cards are complete or playing time is complete.

6. Fidget Spinner

This game can be played with a partner or even independently for extra practice. It is great as a fast finisher activity. You will need the FREE printable game board for each student and a fidget spinner. I personally like to laminate the game board and have students play using a dry erase marker.

With this game, the fidget spinner acts as a timer. One player will spin it on the table and both players will answer as many facts as they can before the fidget spinner stops. 

These games are perfect for centers when you are teaching multiplication!

The winner is the person who correctly answered the most math facts.

7. Roll Four in a Row 

This is another great multiplication game to play in math centers! All you need is one of the game boards laminated for each student, two dice and a dry erase marker for each player.

Players will take turns rolling both dice. They will add the two numbers rolled and then multiply by the number on the top of the game board. The player will find and color the product in the game board grid. 

These games are perfect for centers when you are teaching multiplication!

Students can only color in one number per turn, even though the product will appear more than once on their board. If that product is no longer available on their board, they don't get to color anything and it is their partner's turn.

The winner is the first person with four squares colored in a row.

You can give each student the same board or you can differentiate by giving students different boards based on the facts that they need the most practice with.

Note: This game goes up to x12!

Multiplication Games for the Whole Class

8. Class Relay Race

This is a fun whole group game that requires almost no prep. It is the perfect activity for that extra 10 minutes that you need to fill last minute. All you need is the class white board and white board markers.

Before you start the game, divide the white board into two spaces. Write a dozen (or so) multiplication facts on each side of the white board. Divide your class into two teams.

These games are perfect for centers when you are teaching multiplication!

Students will form two single file lines. When you say "go" the first person runs up to board and answers ONE of the math facts on their side of the board. Then they run back and give the marker to the next person in line. That person can then run up to the board and answer any one of the facts. 

The winning team is the team who correctly answers all of their team's multiplication facts first.

9. Bingo

This game is perfect to play whole group.

Each student will need a bingo board. Students will fill each box in with a multiplication fact. You can let them choose any facts or you can set rules. Maybe the facts need to be x6, x7, x8 or x9. It's up to you! 

These games are perfect for centers when you are teaching multiplication!

You will call out products. I just use flashcards and tell the students the product without showing them the fact. This makes prep easier. If a student has a fact that equals the product you called out, they can cover the fact or color it in. If they have multiple facts with the product, they can only color in one of them! 

The first person to get a complete row covered is the winner.

10. Swat a Fact

This is another fun whole group multiplication game. It is fun to surprise students with an engaging game on a Friday afternoon!

For this game, you will need two fly swatters, two sets of the product cards and one set of the teacher calling cards. Divide the class white board in half. Tape the product cards to the white board. You will be taping the same products on both sides of your board and that is why you printed two sets.

Split the class into two teams and have the teams line up in front of their side of the white board. You will call out the math fact. The first people in the team lines will swat the correct product on the board. The first person to swat the correct answer will earn a point for their team. They will give their fly swatters to the next students in line and the game will continue until you have called all of the facts or you run out of time.

These games are perfect for centers when you are teaching multiplication!

The winning team is the one with the most points at the end.

The free stuff that you have been waiting for...

So are you super excited to get your students playing these fun multiplication games? I am giving you all of the game cards and printable game boards for FREE! Just click on the image below to get signed up!

(Note: I will send the games right away. I HIGHLY recommend using a personal address rather than a school address. If you don't get the games right away, be certain to check your junk mail folder.)

These games are perfect for centers when you are teaching multiplication!

Enjoy those free games! Your students are going to think that you are the coolest teacher EVER!

These games are perfect for centers when you are teaching multiplication!

Have a Not So Wimpy day!

My ELA Block: Writing Workshop

Take a look at how I teach writing each day in my classroom!

Hey! Thanks for stopping by to check out the last post in my ELA block blog series! If you missed any of the other posts in the series, you can click on the links below.

Part Two: Reading Centers

Today, I want to talk about how I teach writing!

I teach writing using a workshop model. Students have a mini lesson each day and the majority of the writing time is spent independently working on their own writing piece.

I do not teach using writing prompts. Instead, I teach in units of study (personal narrative, informational, opinion). Students can choose their own writing topic within our current unit of study. Every unit contains mini lessons to help students learn to generate their own topics. Allowing them to choose their own writing topic gets them more excited and invested in the writing.

Here is a look at our daily breakdown:

How to teach writing!

Mini Lesson: 10-15 minutes

Writer's workshop starts with a mini lesson. It is a MINI lesson- not a MAXI lesson! Maxi skirts are cute, but maxi lessons are BORING! #dontbeboring #butbecute

This is the time I am teaching students a skill that I want them to use in their writing. If I spend too much time talking, then they never get to the writing! 

During my mini lesson, I love to share mentor texts. I think that reading great writing is the best way to grow great writers. There are wonderful picture book mentor texts for nearly every writing skill. However, I can't always find the books at the library and it gets pricey to buy them all. I started using mentor text passages instead. I like them because they can be used as a close read during reading and students can highlight and underline interesting words, dialogue and other great writing skills. Plus, students can glue the passages into their notebooks for future reference.

Most of my mini lessons also include anchor charts. The charts are a great way to practice a skill. I don't have a ton of wall space, so I prefer to display a digital version of an anchor chart and fill it in with student input. Students can create the same anchor chart and put it in their notebook as a reminder when they write.

Work Time: 25-35 minutes

The majority of writer's workshop is spent writing! Students are given a specific task to work on in their masterpiece story. 

If the mini lesson was about using transition words, their task will be to go back through their piece and add transition words. If the mini lesson was about using dialogue, students will be asked to add dialogue to their piece. 

Giving students a very specific task, and resources for reference, helps students to write for the entire time. When a student completes the task for the day, they are able to work on extra stories in the back of their notebook. They will come back to their masterpiece the next day when we learn a new skill during the mini lesson. I like this method because my students are always at the same place in the writing process with their masterpiece story.

Writing Conferences:

While students are writing, I am conferencing with students. I used to conference one-on-one with writers, but I never seemed to be able to get to every student in a week. I also found that I was giving the same feedback to many of the students. I decided that it made more sense to meet with a small group of writers each day. 

Students are grouped based on their writing goals. Students with similar needs are grouped together and this drastically cuts down on the amount of time I spend giving the same feedback. It also helps students to learn from one another. 

When students meet with me during conference, I will have them read their writing out loud. This is much faster than me trying to read all of the pieces. I don't have them read the entire story though. If we have just learned about writing leads that hook readers (or if that is a common goal for the group), I will have each student share their lead. This keeps the conferences short and focused. 

During conferences, I will take notes about strengths and areas for growth for each student. This helps me to remember things I want to follow up on. (I have the WORST memory!)

How to effectively teach writing!

Share Time: 5 minutes

I think that it is important for authors to have opportunities to share their writing. I think that is the main reason that writers write! I used to have an author's chair and chose one student to come up each day to read their story. This took so long and meant that students were only able to share less than once per month. I want students to get to share everyday! 

Sharing doesn't always have to be in front of the whole class. Most days I just have my students share with their shoulder partner. 

I always give my students a very specific task during share time. It just takes too long to read an entire story. Instead, I might ask them to share a place where they used the "show, don't tell" writing strategy. I might ask them to share a place where they used dialogue. Giving a specific task helps to keep things moving and his a great way to close our lesson.

Writing Freebies!

Would you like even more information about making the most of your writing time? I have put together a FREE writing workshop email course. The course includes a week of free lesson plans, anchor charts and rubrics. 

Get signed up now and you'll get your first freebie right away!

Helpful Writing Resources!

Would you like to have an effective writing workshop without having to write the lesson plans, find the mentor texts or create the anchor charts? I have you covered! I did all of the hard. work, so you can start teaching writing in your class tomorrow! Click on the pictures below to read more about these units! I am currently hard bat work on my opinion writing unit. It will be released in October! #yippee

How to effectively teach writing!

And that's a wrap! Now you have an inside look at my entire ELA block! I hope that it helped to give you some new ideas!

Have a Not So Wimpy day!

My ELA Block: Teaching Grammar and Language

Thanks for popping in to read the fourth part of my ELA blog series! If you missed any of the posts, you can use the links below to get caught up.

Part Two: Reading Centers

Today I am sharing all about my grammar and language instruction!

I only have ten minutes to teach grammar. The good thing about that is that grammar can be sooooo boring to teach. The bad news is that there are lots of standards to cover and my students often act as if they have never even heard of a noun!

I tried a lot of different things, but nothing seemed perfect. Some resources were just worksheets that were boring and too much prep. Other resources were too complicated for my students, because they didn't have the basic skills mastered. So, I made my own resource! BOOM!

I created a resource that was basic, engaging, easy to prep and included assessment and review. The resource helps me to implement a consistent routine for grammar each week.


On Monday I use a PowerPoint to introduce the skill for the week. I am not much of a PowerPoint reading kind of teacher. So I made this PowerPoint short and sweet. Plus, the slides include tasks for the students to do so that they stay engaged.


On Tuesday my students complete a simple notebook activity. The activity is great practice of our weekly skill and the notebooks become a source of reference for the entire year. The activities include super simple cuts to make them quicker! 


On Wednesday I like to integrate some quick writing into our grammar time. (This does NOT take the place of our writing workshop!) This is just another way to practice our weekly skill and allow students to see the skill in text. 

I have PowerPoint presentations that give students a simple prompt each week. Then they are told to trade notebooks with a partner. If we are working on action verbs, students are told to underline the action verbs in their partner's writing. If we have time, I ask students to raise their hand and share one action verb that their partner used in their writing. So simple!


On Thursday we get out of our seat and SCOOT! Students complete task cards. This can be done many different ways, but I love to have kids up and moving around the room. I set the cards on desks and students roam around the room answering each of the questions. You can have them work independently or with a partner. Whatever suits your fancy!


After a week of working on one skill, we are ready for our Friday assessment. I give them a short assessment that is crazy easy for me to grade, but an effective tool to determine student mastery.

My Grammar Pacing

Are you wondering what skills to teach each week? It's too bad you don't know someone who would write a pacing guide for you... OH WAIT! You do know someone like that! ME!

Here is a full year of weekly grammar and language topics:

Grammar Resources

If you don't have time to make your own mini lesson PowerPoints, notebook activities, task cards and assessments- I have you covered!

I am working VERY HARD at getting grammar sets made for every single one of the topics listed above! 

You can click HERE to check out the sets that I already have completed and available in my store.

And if you want to know when I add new grammar sets to my store (at greatly reduced prices), you can click HERE to sign up for notifications. I'll even send for a FREE student notebook cover and table of contents pages!

That's a wrap folks! I hope that you were able to get some new ideas for your language instruction. 

Are you ready to read all about my writing workshop? Click HERE to check out the last post in the series!

Have a Not So Wimpy day!

My ELA Block: Vocabulary Instruction

Thanks for popping in to read the third part of my ELA blog series! If you missed either of the first two posts, you can use the links below to get caught up.

Part Two: Reading Centers

Today I am sharing all about my vocabulary instruction!

Vocabulary instruction is so important that I set aside 10-15 minutes every day for explicit vocabulary lessons and practice. This time helped my students to increase their reading comprehension and become more interesting writers.

What Words I Teach

I am going to say this and I hope that no one is offended.... 

Just because a word appears in your reading curriculum does not mean that it is a word that belongs in your vocabulary lessons. #sorrynotsorry

Some of those words are obscure and very specific to that particular story. One story from my reading curriculum was about cowboys. One of the vocabulary words was "chaps." It is a great word to learn when learning about cowboys. But unless they read westerns, students aren't likely to run across that word in other grade level texts.

Instead of teaching these obscure words, I chose to teach tier two words. If you are not familiar with the different tiers of vocabulary words, here is a run down:

Tier One: These are words that students don't need to be taught because they already know them when they come to school. Examples: cup, baby, happy

Tier Two: These are high frequency words that students do not already know, but will likely see in grade level text. Examples: frigid, grasp, obsolete

Tier Three: These are content specific words that pertain to a specific subject. Examples: dividend, photosynthesis, compass

The reason that I teach the tier two words is because they are words that my students will see over and over in grade level text and on assessments. In fact, I found the words for my vocabulary units by studying grade level books. #ireadkidbooks

My Routine

I have a vocabulary routine that stayed consistent every week. I loved not having to recreate the wheel every single week!


On Mondays I introduced our five new words for the week.

I introduced words one of two different ways.
  1. I gave the students a sentence with the word in the sentence. I asked students to use context clues to determine possible meanings. After getting some student responses, I wrote the correct definition on the board and discussed the clues in the sentence that would help you to determine that meaning. This helped my students to practice context clues and inference! #doubledipping
  2. Sometimes I gave my students the definition and part of speech and then asked them to try and use the word in a sentence. This helped my students to practice using the proper tenses, meanings and sentence writing. We would decide on one great sentence to write in our vocabulary journals.

Students record the definitions and a sentence for each of the five words in their vocabulary journal on Monday.


On Tuesday we would come up with two synonyms and two antonyms (or examples and non-examples) for each of our words. This process really helped my students to make sense of the weekly words. The examples and non-examples helped to make the new vocabulary words more concrete for my students. I also like to throw in some unique or fancy antonyms and synonyms from time to time.

Tuesday is all about talking about words and why they are or are not good examples. We have conversations about parts of speech and verb tenses. Students start to see that the best synonyms are the same part of speech and tense as the original word. Sometimes the kids will start debating a bit about which synonym or antonym we should choose to record. Since I have taught them to be respectful, these debates really just deepen their word understanding. It is magical! #insertfairydust


On Wednesdays, we actually took a break from our weekly words. Each Wednesday, I gave my students a "wow word." It is just a word that has either a prefix or a suffix. (Using "wow" makes it sound like a pretty cool word!)

We break the word apart and identify the root and the affix. We will define the root and the affix and then we will brainstorm other words with the same root and/or affix.

Students have "aha" moments when they realize how affixes change the meaning of a word! We are still actively talking about vocabulary, but we are also hitting the reading and language standards associated with prefixes and suffixes.


The human brain is so amazing. When I was in college I learned the art of color coding my class notes. If I made each category a different color- I could recall the information easier.

I use this same sort of idea on Thursday. By this time, my students understand the meaning of the five new words for the week, but I want to help make it memorable. I don't want them to just be words that they learn for the week and then forget.

On Thursday I give students time to draw a small and simple representation for each of their words. The drawings must somehow show the meaning of the word. For example, when the word was gallop- one of my students drew a horse running. When the word was clutch- one of my students drew a hand holding a purse.

I only give students 10-15 minutes for this activity. I tell them that they don't have time to be Picassos. They should just sketch quick pictures. If they finish early, they can go back and add color.


On Fridays we started by having fun and reviewing our words from the week (and even previous weeks!).

Vocabulary Social

Sometimes we had a vocabulary social. Each student is give a lanyard with a vocabulary word from the past couple of weeks. They review the word in their journal. I tell them that they must become experts on that word.

Then they will pretend that they are the word and walk around the classroom introducing themselves to their classmates. The conversation might sound like, "Hi, I'm literal. One antonym for me is figurative." "Hi, literal. I am redundant. I am redundant. I am redundant. (Ha!) A good synonym for me is repetitive. Can you use yourself in a sentence?"

The conversation will go on for a couple minutes as each student shares what they know. Then they will move on to talk to different students. This is a fantastic way to review before an assessment and it is a great way to practice all those speaking and listening skills! The kids like it because it is a little goofy! Goofy is good because we tend to remember things that make us laugh.


Some Fridays we played games with our vocabulary words. We used current words and words from previous weeks. I want my students to be exposed to these words over and so that they are committed to their forever memory!

Sometimes we played games as a whole group. Bingo and Jeopardy are always a hit!

But if you really want to be the coolest teacher ever, play Trashketball every now and again!

Sometimes I had students play games with partners or in small groups. I love to incorporate vocabulary words with popular board games.

Pop is another super fun, but simple to prep game.

If you would like to learn how to play all of these games and grab some free printables, click HERE.


Every other Friday students did an assessment on their vocabulary words. Since the assessment is biweekly, students have longer to practice the words and they must remember the words for longer.

I hope this gives you a good look at what vocabulary instruction looked like during my ELA block! I have a video about my vocabulary instruction if you prefer to hear about it straight from the horse's mouth. #iamaunicorn Click HERE to check out the free video.

Are you ready to check out the next post in my ELA blog series?! The next one is all about teaching grammar and language without boring the kids to death! Click HERE to check it out.

Have a Not So Wimpy day!