This was the most ridiculous thing I thought I'd ever seen, until... it worked!!!

My student's would consistently ask me-

"What's a negative times a negative?"

"What's a negative divided by a positive?"

I tried explaining, demonstrating, etc. Then I remembered something I learned at a workshop-"sleepy man"

This is what the student's can quickly draw and then use their finger to cover up the signs in their problem and the sign left over is the result. negative*negative is positive, positive/negative is negative, etc.

Additional strategy:

The tic-tac-toe image where the positive run diagonally and the rest are negative. No matter which row, column, or diagonal you use, the result is always the sign left over.

My students like sleepy man more than tic-tac-toe.

My goal with journals is to provide my students with a resource to create confident independent learners. And sleepy man was a huge step for a minor concept. :)

Caution: Some students confuse this with adding and subtracting integers. Any suggestions on how to distinguish the difference?