After a few days of this strategy they really had it and were ready to try something new. Onward we went to multiplying with regrouping (you know, the way we all learned when you multiply by the ones then the tens) and holy moly, they LOVED it and more importantly GOT it!!! YIPPEE! We have been multiplying up a storm. Today there was a bit of review and then busy, busy pencils!
I love that they have more than one strategy to rely on! If I had gone straight to regrouping I don't think they would have been so openminded to learning the area model and as a result would have missed out on using the distributive property. Tomorrow we move on to multiplying three and four digit numbers by one digit. I am holding out hope that this goes as well :)
In the meantime, I am working on organizing my guided reading group "area" which is quite the embarrassment. I have so many great tools but the way they are stored isn't working. Stay tuned for pictures of before (yikes) and after.