December 18, 2002
I was tutoring a student, and I came up with a song to help her remember how to handle integer operations. I had found such a song for addition/subtraction on the Internet. We made up one for multiplication/division. It is sung to the tune of Brother John, Are You Sleeping? Multiplying and dividing,/ Use same sign, use same sign./ You will get a positive,/ You will get a positive,/ And you'll be fine, you'll be fine. In case you have not seen the addition/subtraction song, it is sung to the tune of Row, Row, Row Your Boat. Same sign, add and keep./ Different sign, subtract./ Take the sign of the higher number,/ Then it'll be exact. I am planning to use these songs with my Pre-Algebra students as we begin to learn how to handle integers. We will also do hands-on work and will walk the line on the floor. But we will also sing every day, until they can sing this song in their sleep. Remembering how to handle integer operations is the place where my students falter, and often fall down.