I saw this graphic on Lester Laminack's FB page and started thinking about the ditties and tricks we teach. When are they a good support, and when does a learner spend so much time on the trick that they might as well just learn the fact or concept?
The one above is catchy and fun, but we don't teach all of those concepts in the same grade. So, by the time a student is learning to find the mean, and therefore might be ready for the rhyme, one would hope that they had already internalized median, range, and mode.
You know that trick for the nines table in multiplication that you can do with your hands? ("Holding both hands in front of you, number the digits from left to right so the left pinkie is 1. Then bend down the finger you want to multiply by -- so if you're multiplying 9x4, bend down the fourth finger. The fingers to the left of the turned-down finger are the "tens" digit of the answer (3), and the fingers to the right are the "ones" digit of the answer (6)." description found here) Kids love knowing that trick, but if you have to put your pencil down and hold both hands in front of you to solve a multiplication problem, you might as well just learn the facts.
What are your favorite tricks or ditties to teach as you help your students internalize the fact or process?
What tricks or ditties drive you crazy because they have become more important than the underlying fact or concept?