Should you boost success along with motivation?

Offering cool rewards, such a getting to make a human Rocket ship on the playground (above), work best if students expect to succeed.

There is sometimes a chicken-and-egg problem with rewards for success. If students are not being successful, just offering new rewards won't necessarily motivate them. Especially if they have come to the point where they don't expect to succeed. Then a two-pronged approach to motivation is needed.

A very smart instructional coach and principal I know, recently decided that Rocket Math was not progressing the way it should in their school. Students weren't passing frequently enough, weren't excited, and weren't getting motivated. These two instructional leaders realized that their teachers needed help to effectively motivate their students AND they knew the students needed to experience more success to get motivated. So rather than just offer rewards, they set up special practice sessions so students could get  "two-a-day" practices for a week.

The principal and instructional coach made a special Challenge Week (all 1st-5th grades in this school do Rocket Math). During this week each class had a second ten-minute time during the day for Rocket Math.

 Immediately after their first practice session of the day, the instructional coach and principal checked the folders of any students who thought they passed, so that if they did, they would re-fill their folders with the next set, allowing them to move on immediately during the second session. Students who didn't pass knew they had a second chance that same day. At Rocket Math we know that two practice sessions in one day is very powerful and leads to faster learning! The instructional coach and principal also held some extra enthusiastic "Rocket to the Office" practice sessions for selected students who needed the extra boost.

Prizes were announced at the start of the challenge week. The student in each class who passed the most levels during the week would get a $10 Barnes and Noble gift card. The teacher whose class passed the most levels in the week won lunch on the principal. And the class that won (by passing the most levels) got a special secret prize, which you can see above. The picture was posted in the school newsletter, on the school website, and the school's closed Facebook page.

The brilliant thing about the Challenge Week was that the excitement of the prizes were reinforced by the extra practice sessions, boosting success at the same time as providing extra motivation. That is effective instructional leadership, par excellence.

Use Coupon Code  UPGRADE15%OFF when you order.
Offer Expires 5/31/2016. Item #2999  Upgrade  a Basic to a Universal Subscription, normal price of $20 is discounted, may be used more than once.
Daniella "framed" for her Rocket Math success!

The elementary teachers in New Braunfels, TX "frame" their students and take their picture when they complete an operation.  What a great way to celebrate success!  And congratulations to Daniella! 
Send me your photos!  
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

Two-minute timings and how they work. 

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

Dr. Don answers:
 I think there is a misunderstanding here. I would never take-away anyone's "lifetime license." Lifetime licenses were not "accounts." They were pdf files that were permanently given to customers to save and keep and use forever. Once you downloaded the files they were yours to store and move and use, however you wanted for as long as you have them. That is the lifetime part. Not only would I not take those from anyone, I don't even have a way to do that.

Starting in June of 2015 I created a new website, which is a "filing cabinet on the web." I then created a new 2015 version of Rocket Math with different shading and put that into the "filing cabinet." I also collected the other programs I had created and put those into the "filing cabinet." Then I began to sell subscription access to this "filing cabinet" full of new things. There's an inexpensive " Basic subscription (item #2000), for $29 a year, that accesses the same four operations as the original Rocket Math. Then there's a " Universal subscription (item #2001) that also includes all of the new programs, such as  Rocket Writing for NumeralsAdd to 20Skip CountingFactorsIntegers and  10s, 11s, 12s in Multiplication and 10s, 11s, 12s  Division. The Universal subscription includes the basic operations and sells for $49 per year. Customers who start with a Basic subscription and want to purchase Upgrade to a Universal subscription can do so by ordering  item #2999 for $20.

Something new.  The website, the new programs and the subscription access plan are all new and represent a very significant investment on my part to create. I think it is a much better way to give access to my curriculum. It allows me to update, correct, improve, and expand the materials without having to make customers pay or even do anything to access those improvements.

Customers who previously purchased lifetime licenses, already have the files for the basic operations that they own for life. However, if they would like to also purchase a subscription to get access to the "filing cabinet on the web" then I am offering that annual subscription to them at a discounted price. The way I am offering the discount is by letting lifetime license holders order an " upgrade" (item #2999) for $20 and if they qualify, I will give them a one-year Universal subscription. I will personally check the old files to see if the customer is listed as a lifetime license holder, and then put the order through if they are.  These are per teacher prices, but I will extend them to all teachers covered by a Whole School Lifetime License.

As far as prices for next year, I am in the process of working with my webmaster to work out how renewals will work. Here's what I have in mind for prices.

Hopefully, you can see that (1) I am giving old customers a discount on a new product and (2) no one has had anything taken away from them.
Hidden gem of the week
(Something you might never have noticed!)
Administrator and Coach Handbook chapters

I have uploaded the Administrator and Coach Handbook, chapter by chapter into the Forms and Information drawer.  
You can read each of the chapters in full here.  You can also purchase a hard copy from me, but in the meantime you can see and read it here for free!   
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
Dr. Don
Rocket Math
phone (888) 488-4854
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