Monday, December 15, 2008

Trigger Memory Systems

“Education through imagination” is the promise of Trigger Memory Systems. Their products offer a fresh approach to the teaching of mathematics, organization and cleaning, science, home economics skills and preschool. I received their zone and bedroom cleaning and laundry for kids clean and flip charts, and Times Tales to review. My children embraced the laundry and cleaning flip charts, but we struggled a bit with Times Tales.

I admit I’m a messy by nature. I love the idea of a clean house, but many times I simply feel overwhelmed by the vast tasks set before me in keeping up with the laundry and cleaning responsibilities of a household of eight. When my family was smaller and my older children younger I did a great job of training the kids for household tasks. As the older children’s educational needs grew along with my family I began to lack inspiration and slid into the habit of “just doing it myself”, because it was faster. The dilemma of how to find the time to properly teach necessary household skills comes to an end with the fantastic Flip and Clean Charts available from Trigger Memory Systems.

Our family made use of the Bedroom Zone cleaning chart last November when it became necessary to clean and organize five bedrooms in one weekend for house guests. My 17 year old daughter was in the midst of a three month long tour with the Continental Singers and my oldest daughter was away at college so all I had left on my cleaning staff were untrained workers. I knew in order to complete the job at hand I needed help and I sought out the Flip and Clean Chart as inspiration. With the step by step instructions provided on the chart I was able to delegate most of the cleaning of the five bedrooms to my 14, 11, and 7 year old. They in turn recruited their 4 year old brother to help with minor tasks and I was left to handle the heavy duty organizing and laundry. Within three days we had thoroughly cleaned and organized all five bedrooms, washed a small mountain of linens and were ready for company. Fantastic!

We took advantage of the Zone Cleaning Chart the other evening by testing out the kitchen portion. I had made dinner after a long day and wanted no part of cleaning up after the meal. I assigned Micah age 11, Sierra age 7 and Aidan age 4 to handle the task with the aid of the Zone Cleaning Flip Chart. Although the 11 year old found it necessary to become “captain” of the small cleaning crew the three were able to complete the task quickly and without any help or coercion from me.

When asked about her experiences Micah replied, “I liked it a lot because, the chart was organized and sometimes I forget to clean things. All I had to do was check things off and read what to do next. It was easy, because I didn’t have to remember and it was all written down for me”.

The spiral bound 8.5” x 5.5” laminated charts come complete with dry erase marker for easy checking off of duties completed. They are reusable as the dry erase marker can be removed easily with a swipe of a cloth. They are available from Trigger Memory Systems for $17.95 each, $22.95 for bedroom and zone cleaning or $29.95 for the set of three which includes the laundry cleaning chart. There is no doubt in my mind that kids love them and they work!

Times Tales

Times Tales offered through Trigger Memory Systems is a math teaching aid like none I have ever seen. The concept of Times Tales is to introduce the more difficult portions of the multiplication tables in story format. Who doesn’t love a good story?

Children learn the stories associated with different numbers and combinations of the numbers and easily learn multiplication facts along the way. The stories consist of a brief one or two sentence description and picture depicting the description (see sample below) They address the concepts of: 3 x 6, 3 x 7, 3 x 8, 3 x 9, 4 x 6, 4 x 7, 4 x 8, 4 x 9, 6 x 6, 6 x 7, 6 x 8, 6 x 9, 7 x 7, 7 x 8, 7 x 9, 8 x 8, 8 x 9, 9 x 9.

Because my older children have mastered their multiplication tables I tested Times Tales with my 7 year old daughter. She was not ready for understanding the concept so I cannot give you a personal recommendation.

I do believe that if a child were struggling in math this unique approach would give them a wonderful new way to look at numbers and their relationships. I love the idea of personifying numbers and learning a few of their life adventures. As a math phobic child I would have loved this product. In a letter from the publisher I was warned to “not try and figure the product out” before using it. Like immersion into a second language, the child eventually begins to just “get it” and becomes fluent in the language of mathematical times tables.

Times Tales is available in easy to use and re-use flip chart format. The flip chart is sent with a separate teacher guide filled with directions, story prompts and flash cards for $29.95. A deluxe version that also includes a 3” x 5” mini flip chart for child review is available for $34.95.

Opening up your imagination to Trigger Memory Systems will provide parent/teachers with numerous aids to assist in the teaching process. From the practical and concrete to the abstract concepts of mathematics, their approach offers children wonderful memory aids on their road to success.

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