Monday, January 31, 2011

Times Alive by City Creek Press New TOS Reiew

Times Alive Software Download
City Creek Press
City Creek Press, Inc. 
PO Box 8415

Minneapolis, MN 55408
P- 800-585-6059

Download Program   $44.95
CD Rom    $48.95

City Creek Press also has companion items - Times Tables the Fun Way - books, worksheets, flashcards, cd's, posters and related Teachers materials to enhance and compliment Times Tales.

An addition program utilizing a similiar methodology is available.

As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew I reviewed and used the download version of Times Tales, but a CD-Rom is also available.

In my experience with teaching my children math one of the most difficult things has been memorizing facts.  I strongly believe that having all the facts memorized is vital both to learning math as well as everyday life.  There are so many instances when knowing math facts quickly is helpful.  But the drill and repeated study of facts is quite frankly boring!!  It also takes time and my kids do not like to spend the time on something they don't like.

Times Alive by City Creek Press has taken something dull like memorizing the times tables and put them to mini stories and songs. Each story features the two multiples and products in a story to aid in associating them together. There are a total of 18 lessons in the Times Alive program.  Each lesson has a movie, song, and a quiz.  Some lessons also have a painting activity where the user can color a scene from the ditties online.   Each of these features is identified in the lesson outline by a unique icon. All of these activities (and the tests) have circles which the computer checks or marks upon completion.

The lessons have the same graphics for both the movie and song, but the words are different.  They are both captioned.  Thus it gives two mnemonics for remembering a fact. The facts are immediately reinforced as the student needs to type the factors and the product at the conclusion of the song.

 Here is a sample from Times Alive:

Other samples of the songs can be found on their YouTube channel.

Times Alive begins with a  test to help the child determine what they know.  During the course of the lessons there are periodic tests. The student is given a few problems to answer and they received a score showing the number they answered correctly and their time.  It also gives a percentage for the number correct. Students also have the opportunity to show what they have learned by selecting the picture from the story which answers the multiplication question correctly.

Progress reports can be printed so there is a hard copy report of a students work.  Tests can also be printed so they can be taken with paper and pencil also.


My 9 year old daughter used Times Alive program to help her learn the multiplication facts.  She has been working on them for a while, but has struggled with learning the higher ones.  She also has to stop and think about many of them.  The ditties and stories have helped her to learn some facts, but she has not increased her speed very much yet. I think with continued practice her speed will increase.  I think Times Alive has really appealed to her as she enjoys stories and music.  She  easily picks up information which has music attached.  She really likes the 8x6 and 8x8 songs.  The painting activities also appeal to her artistic interests.

My 6 year old son also used Times Alive a little, but overall was not interested in it.  I am not sure what doesn't appeal to him, but he is learning multiplication facts apart from this program. 

I really like how the whole program is laid out for the student.  They are able to see at a glance how much they have accomplished and what they have left to do. I would have found this to be a helpful feature for organizing a plan of introducing multiplication to my student.  When I formally work with multiplication with my son, I may follow this order and see if he becomes more interested at that time.

One drawback I found to the program is that the facts are not presented in order. The first lessons present easier facts so that the user can achieve a sense of accomplishment shortly after beginning the program.  I understand the reasoning and agree with it.  However, during the course of the program the facts presented don't seem to follow a order which builds on each other.

We have really enjoyed this program.  The songs are certainly catchy and easy to remember. I would definitely recommend Times Alive to someone teaching multiplication to a student who is interested in music, art, or short stories.  Times Alive beautifully integrates artistic pursuits and a fundamental math concept.  I wish I had had Times Alive when I learned multiplication.

Read what other Crew Members have to say here.

Disclaimer: I was given a free download copy of Times Alive for my use to write this review.  I have not been compensated in any other way.  All opinions expressed here are solely my own.

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