I will never forget sitting down with Elijah when school began last year. As a 5th-grader, he didn’t understand the concept of multiplication.
I started at the beginning, teaching him that any number multiplied by zero is zero. Then, I taught him that any number multiplied by one is that number, one group of five or five groups of one is five, and so on. I made no judgments. I never made him feel like it was his fault. Eventually, he started to get it. He knew I invested in his learning, so he became invested, too. Pretty soon, Elijah was bragging to other teachers, “I know multiplication!”