Does your motivation hurt more than it helps?

Public displays of progress (or lack of it) risk humiliating some students.

Does your motivation hurt more than it helps?

Many teachers want to increase the motivation in Rocket Math by publicly displaying students' progress.  [Few do it as beautifully as the solar system bulletin board pictured above with individual rockets for each student.] But what happens to the students who cannot learn as easily as the fastest? 

Students learn at different rates and soon you will have some students FAR in advance of other students.  You will have some other students who are making very slow progress.  They may, in fact, be working as hard as they can, but they just need a lot more practice to pass a level. 
[I do recommend that students who appear to need more practice should get more every day, such as an extra session each day as a remediation, and to be encouraged to practice at home as well.]  But even so, the slower learners are going to be back on the early levels when other students are going to be at the top of the display.  That is going to look really bad to them, no matter how beautiful the display is.
In response to last week's blog on grading Rocket Math
Shannon Thornton writes:   
Please don't grade students based on progress in Rocket Math. If they are doing the same work and practice as everyone else and aren't progressing at the same speed they need encouragement not a lower grade. In my experience, some students will simply take longer to learn their facts. Its just so unfair to give the students who are not putting in any more effort than others the most encouragement.

Dr. Don agreed!
      Shannon, I couldn't agree more! Well said! Unfortunately, teachers often tell me they are "required" to grade Rocket Math. That being the case I think the grading system I laid out would give most students a good grade and the ones that are taking more than a week to pass would be getting a grade that indicates they need more help-they need an extra session each day. That's what grades are best for: helping the teacher and the parents notice when a student needs more assistance! You don't have to tell anyone the grades, but try it and see if my suggestion doesn't help you see who needs more practice sessions! 
You should try a Wall Chart in your room.  If you have never used the fun and motivating Wall Chart , you owe it to yourself to try it out--use this coupon code to knock the price down to $12. Free shipping.  [Well, it's not free for me, I have to pay $8 to $10 to UPS, but I won't charge you.]    
Type in coupon code "NeverHadaWallChart" 
Offer Expires 12/24/2015. On-line only, coupon code must be entered: only valid for the items listed above; 1 coupon allowed per  customer
Dr. Don's Training Tips Video Clip

How to teach your students how to practice (11 min.)   
This is the secret ingredient to making sure your students practice and correct both errors and hesitations the right way.  I model how you as a teacher should teach your students how to practice.  If you do this right your students will have more success.
  This is also explained in writing on our website

What's new with Rocket Math?
Rocket Math Reward Pencils

This week I got my biggest order yet for Rocket Math Reward Pencils. Fifteen dozen to one school!
 Not too many people know about these, but they are really cool.  [And they are already sharpened for you!]

Fire up your students with these pencils as an incentive for accomplishing goals in Rocket Math.  Give these when students meet a goal, for instance reaching Set M (the middle of the operation) or completing an operation.  Have the principal or other adult hand them out, perhaps along with a certificate.
If your school already has a Rocket Math lifetime license, get an amazing discount to try a whole school basic subscription.  
    Whole School Site Basic subscriptions
      ( get enough subscriptions for everybody!)

    • Small (20) $240 $49 #2301
    • Medium (30) $84 #2302
    • Large (50) $124 #2303  
Contact Dr. Don directly to get this discount.
Thank you for your interest in Rocket Math.  I created Rocket Math so we can help your students be more successful, gain confidence and enjoy math more.  Let me know how else I can help.  Feel free to call me with any questions you have or send me an email to
Dr. Don
R&D Instructional Solutions
(the home of Rocket Math)
phone (888) 488-4854
Rocket Math 
Addition App
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and   A+ 
from the rigorous Balefire Labs is 
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Rocket Math
Multiplication App
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and for a 50% discount in Apple's Volume Purchase Plan for Education.