Dr. Don's HINTS AND TIPS 
Tuesday, April 19, 2016
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How can you fill testing-created gaps in your daily schedule?

Rocket Math fits perfectly!

Many schools are doing spring testing now, and it wreaks havoc with the daily schedule. People outside education don't really understand how much school schedules are disrupted by attempting to test everyone in the school on the available computers. Not to mention catching all the students who are absent during their assigned time. Disrupted schedules create small gaps in the schedule, which are hard to fill, even more so when not every student is present. 

Let me present an option to fill those small gaps--do Rocket Math! Here's five reasons why you should.

1) By this time of the year, students know the Rocket Math routine, so it should not take more than ten to fifteen minutes to run, start to finish. So Rocket Math can fill small gaps.

2) Even if Rocket Math has been done once during the day, a second or even third session during the day will NOT harm students, it will actually help them progress faster. (As long as you have at least a half hour between sessions).

3) It is beneficial for the students in the room even when some students are out doing make-up testing. It won't require you to re-teach a lesson.

4) In contrast to free reading or make work activities, which only fill time, students doing Rocket Math will be <strong>learning </strong>critical skills that are necessary for future success.

5) In contrast to the stress of the accountability tests, Rocket Math is something students know well and have success at. They know what they are doing and they see their growth. They know they are learning. This is a powerful antidote to the not-so-straightforward tasks, questions and expectations of the accountability tests.

I highly recommend keeping Rocket Math folders handy for filling those small gaps in the daily schedule caused by testing.

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Mrs. Sherpe's 3rd grade Lunch bunch--students who passed Rocket Math Multiplication
Gale Elementary, Galesburg, Illinois

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NEW!!  
HOME versions of Rocket Math Apps now available .  
Rocket Math HOME
Addition App
Available in the
FREE  trial to start.
Works the same at the school versions, but with a $2.99 in-app purchase to continue past Level K.
Rocket Math HOME
Multiplication App
Available in the

Video Clip of the Week
90 seconds to explain and demonstrate "Automaticity"

We aim to develop automaticity with math facts in Rocket Math.  It requires lots of practice. See what we are talking about.   

Rocket Math
Addition App
Available in the
and for a 50% discount in Apple's Volume Purchase Plan for Education.
Click to read
the reviews for our Apps:
Rocket Math
Multiplication App
Available in the
and for a 50% discount in Apple's Volume Purchase Plan for Education.
Question of the week
Can we use Rocket Math worksheets at home?


A parent asks:
I am a parent of a second grader who struggles mightily with her math facts. Her school does not do Rocket Math, although other buildings in our district use your program. I would like to know if your math facts program is appropriate for me to buy to use at home with my daughter. Also, does the  Rocket Math basic subscription contain the complete program that a classroom would get?

Dr. Don answers:
Yes, the Rocket Math worksheet program is appropriate to buy to use at home with your child. The basic subscription has everything a parent or classroom teacher needs to run the program.  But...

That being said, a parent at home may want to consider using  Rocket Math flashcards instead of the worksheets in the original Rocket Math program. Flashcards are designed for one-on-one where the worksheets are designed to run an entire class at the same time. You can  download the Flashcard Directions for free--and I highly recommend you doing that, so you know exactly how to work with your child effectively to learn math facts from flashcards. I really like the watch-your-favorite-TV-show-together-and-do-flashcards-during-all-the-commercials plan.

The practice procedures are very similar between the flashcards and the original worksheet program. In both cases the student is to read aloud the problems and say the answers from memory without hesitation. The person listening (tutoring) provides the same correction procedure--saying the correct fact and answer, having the student repeat the fact and the answer three times, then doing two more problems before revisiting the target fact (the one on which there was an error or hesitation). The difference is that in the worksheet program students are reading facts from the worksheet, while in the flashcard program the student is reading the facts off the flashcards.

With the worksheet program you will have to print out the worksheets, the writing speed test, the goal sheet and the rocket chart. Each time you give the student the one minute test (to see if they are ready to move on to the next sheet) you'll use up that sheet and have to print a new one. When your student passes the set of facts on that sheet, you'll need to print the worksheet for the next set. With the flashcards, no additional printing is required. That alone is reason to use flashcards in my mind.
There is one very special circumstance in which it might be important to use the original Rocket Math worksheets at home. If your child is using Rocket Math in school, AND   
if the program is NOT being run correctly, AND therefore your child is being frustrated
--then you might want to get a subscription. Watch our  YouTube video on how to tutor Rocket Math.

If you read the  Rocket Math Directions FAQs, you will be able to discover what is wrong at school. It may be that not enough time is spent practicing, or practicing the right way. It may be that your child's handwriting speed was not taken into account when setting their goals. It may be that your child's student partner in school is not correcting errors or hesitations in the right way. In any case it would be very important to show your child that he or she CAN in fact learn math facts successfully (all children can) and to overcome the frustration that improper use of the program is causing.

So you can buy and use the original Rocket Math worksheet program at home, but think about whether flashcards would be easier than the worksheet program. Teachers can't effectively use flashcards in their classrooms because they can't monitor the learning of that many students at once without the testing procedure. But you can when you are home alone with one child at a time--so flashcards can work for you.

BRAND NEW THIS WEEK!
(My latest new program in the Universal subscription!)
Subtract from 20
(18-15, 15-5, 19-8)

This new program has been posted into its own drawer as part of the Universal subscription this week.  This should help with Common Core expectations.  It should come after learning the 1s through 9s subtraction facts.  Students who have mastered the 1s-9s facts should find Subtract from 20 quite easy to master.  
Thank you for your interest in Rocket Math.  I created it to help 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 don@rocketmath.com
 
Sincerely,
Dr. Don
Rocket Math
phone (888) 488-4854
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